The limited quantity of irrigation water in Xinjiang has hindered agricultural development in the region and water-saving irrigation technologies are crucial to addressing this water shortage. Vertical tube irrigation, a type of subsurface irrigation, is a new water-efficient technology. In this study, field and laboratory experiments were conducted to analyze (1) the infiltration characteristics and spatiotemporal distribution of moisture in layered soil and (2) the water-saving mechanism of vertical tube irrigation. In the field experiments, we analyzed jujube yield, irrigation water productivity (IWP), and soil moisture in the jujube root zone. In the laboratory irrigation experiments, two soil types (silty and sandy loam) were selected to investigate homogeneous and layered soil, respectively. Cumulative infiltration, wetting body, and soil water moisture distribution were also analyzed. Relative to surface drip irrigation, vertical tube irrigation resulted in slightly lower jujube yields but higher savings in water use (47–68%) and improved IWP. The laboratory experiments demonstrated that layered soil had less cumulative infiltration, a larger ellipsoid wetted body, slower vertical wetting front migration (hindered by layer interface), and faster horizontal wetting front migration than homogenous soil had. The irrigation amount for vertical tube irrigation decreased in layered soil, and water content increased at the layer interface. Vertical tube irrigation in layered soil facilitates the retention of water in the root zone, prevents deep leakage, reduces irrigation amount, and improves the IWP of jujube trees. This study aids the popularization and application of vertical tube irrigation technology.
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