4 Proven Ways ToImprove Water Resistant Soil
Sandy soil is a characteristic of backyards of many Australian homes. A number of plants thrive in this kind of soil and it offers one of the greatest benefits over clay of good drainage.
However, if not paid proper attention, sandy soils soon may turn hydrophobic or water repellent.
Normally soil absorbs water and provides moisture essential for plant growth. However, sandy soils don’t do that. And if there are prolonged periods of no rain or watering, the problem becomes worse.
Apart from being water repellent, the soil particles get covered with a wax coating. This happens when uncomposted organic matter settles on the soil. It breaks down and the soil particles get covered with a waxy, oily residue that prevents penetration of water.
The longer the water settles on the soil surface, the more the problem worsens and the harder it becomes to solve it.
It has been seen that leaves of gum trees can also give rise to hydrophobia by discharging eucalyptus oil when they break down and coat the soil particles.
1. How to Test Hydrophobic Soil
Gardening experts at Amico recommend measuring the repellence of your soil by checking how long water takes to get soaked into a scoop from your garden.
If it takes less than one minute, it’s considered low. It’s moderate if it takes up to ten minutes and the problem is severe if it takes more than ten minutes.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Take a scoop of soil from a pot or garden bed and place it in a saucer.
- Form a well in the middle of the soil and then pour in water.
- Try to feel the soil to check if the water has pooled or has been absorbed in the soil.
2. Lawn Problems
If you see dry patches in your lawns, understand that the soil there may be water-repellent.
Most turf rolls are installed in a soil that has a high sand content and are more susceptible to the problem than lawns grown from seeds.
Make sure there are no other potential issues such as diseases, pests, too little or too much water, compaction or salinity before you start the treatment for water repellence.
Use a wetting agent in the start and at the end of spring, and then again in the start of autumn, while watering the grass deeply using a hose after each treatment.
3. Choose the Right Plants
The problem of water repellence of soil cannot be treated quickly and its management takes time and effort. You can take help from companies that offer the best gardening services Paddington such as Amico to solve the problem.
Adding clay soil and organic matter along with a wetting agent can improve absorption of water, since both these materials have good water-holding ability.
Compost enhances the amount of microorganisms in the soil that consume the waxy coating.
An organic mulch will also help retain moisture since it gets broken down in the soil.
When you use mulch, remember to lift it up every couple of months to make sure it hasn’t stuck together to form an impenetrable blockade. If it has, break it with a fork and add new mulch to stop this from happening.
4. Treating Potting Mix
If you see that the water runs off the top of your potting mix or directly through the pot out of the drainage holes without being soaked, understand that it’s often a sign that your potting mix has turned hydrophobic.
Avoid using this old potting mix while planting in containers and change the mix every few years. You can improve water absorbency by immersing the pot in a solution of water and wetting agent till the potting mix is saturated.
Improve your garden’s soil using these tips and it will slowly become healthy and fertile.