How to check your soil drainage

Whenever working in your garden or landscaping, it is important to test your soil drainage. Soils with excess clay have poor drainage because the small clay particles hold lots of water. Sandy soils, on the other hand, have relatively large particles so the water moves through it very quickly. It is important to make sure you have proper soil drainage because soils with excess clay hold water and may lead to root diseases such as rotting.
To test your soil drainage rate, there are a few steps:
1. Dig a hole 18” deep and 6” wide
2. Fill the hole with water, and let it drain overnight
3. Now, fill the hole again on the second day and record the time
4. Check the hole about every hour, until the water drains out for the second time
If the water drains out of the hole in three hours or fewer, you soil drains quickly. If it takes four to six hours for the water to drain, you have optimal drainage. If the water takes more than seven or eight hours to drain, you have poor drainage.
To maintain an optimal drainage level, you can add different soil amendments. If your water drains too quickly, you can add clay soils and mix them in. If the water drains too slowly, you can add sand and mix it in with your existing soil.
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Brian O’Neill

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