Maintaining your Soil in Wet and Dry Weather
Here in Britain we get a bit of everything when it comes to the weather, so keeping on top of your garden can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips to help keep your soil at its best during the wettest and driest periods.
With persistent heavy rainfall, soil can become waterlogged, turning into a muddy bog. If walked on, the soil becomes even more compact, and as a result the drainage gets worse. In these conditions plants drown as water fills any air gaps in the soil preventing the roots from taking up any oxygen.
Tips for waterlogged soil:
- In clay soils mix in organic matter to help break up the clay and improve the drainage properties of the soil.
- During the growing season, feed plants to encourage growth of new roots ready to take up excess water.
- Plant shrubs, trees and perennial plants which are happy in wet soils.
- Stay off wet soil to avoid compacting it further as it will then take longer to drain away.
In the summer months when rainfall reduces (if rainfall happens to reduce in the case of some British summers!) dry soil can cause plants to struggle, with reduced growth and the yellowing of leaves. Soil can easily be tested to see if it needs watering simply by touching it. If it is moist then there is no need to water it as overwatering can do as much damage as a drought.
Tips for dry soil:
- Adding organic matter to thin sandy soils can help with water retention.
- Using mulch on the surface of flowerbeds and around trees reduces water lost via surface evaporation and traps moisture.
- Water your garden lawn thoroughly during dry periods, provided there is no hosepipe ban! Watering should be done in the evenings to allow the water to soak in without evaporating from the surface. Established lawns will recover from dry periods however, if there is a hosepipe ban in place.
- If your garden is prone to dry soils, invest in a water butt for your garden to conserve water.
Sometimes wet or dry soils cannot be avoided completely, but with our quick tips you should be able to manage your soil in order to get the most out of it. If you think your soil may need a helping hand to keep it in good condition from season to season, then check out our organic compost.