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Soil Resistant to Water?

By Carl Wilson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Horticulture

Does the water just run off of the soil when you try to water your perennials?   Many soils dried out over the winter, both on the surface and down 8 to 12 inches. Soil resistance to wetting will likely be a problem for many people when watering of perennials, lawns, trees and other landscape plants is resumed this spring. This water runoff is something we can ill afford in our present drought. With deep-rooted perennials and trees, water that does wet soil may only be wetting topsoil layers, and leave roots at 8 inches dry. This may create a false sense of having done a thorough job of providing the water plants need. Two suggestions can help. Use a wetting agent specifically made for plants, such as Revive and others, to help the water penetrate dry soil. With deep-rooted plants, use a soil needle to place water down to an 8-inch soil depth. Take care to insert needles only 8 inches deep, as deeper insertion will place water beyond the reach of tree or perennial flower roots and is a water waste.

Photo courtesy of Revive, Inc.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010