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How to determine your soil structure

Just as the amount of rainfall varies greatly from one region to another, so does the ability of different garden soils absorb water. Drainage can vary greatly between heavy clay soil and light sandy soils. The first step in a successful landscape is to provide plants with proper drainage and aeration.

A quick drainage test of your soil will reveal whether any such problems exist and suggest ways in which soil amendments can build up topsoil to a suitable condition. Depending on whether you have, clay soils, or loose sandy soils you can choose between several soil, and humus blends we carry to improve your soil. These high quality amendments will improve workability and drainage in most any troubled soil.

So try this simple soil drainage test below. When you find out what kind of soil you have, the experienced staff at Kinney Nursery can make recommendations that will cure what ails your soil.

Water Drainage Test

Good drainage is essential for balancing soil aeration and percolation. Poor drainage can be improved by mixing amendments into the soil, digging ditches around the garden or by laying drainpipes to carry excess water.

Step 1
Dig a 1 ft. round and 2 ft. deep hole in your garden soil.

Step 2
If the soil has received water recently, cover the hole and surrounding soil with plastic and wait 7 days until the soil dries.

Step 3
Fill the soil to the brim with water and begin timing for 5 minutes.

Final Step
If the water drains in less than 5 minutes the soil is too loose; if it is more than 15 minutes the soil is too dense.