How to Perform a Moisture Analysis on Your Lawn
In order for plant seeds to sprout, they need moisture. However, when moisture levels drop below normal, chemical changes in the soil make it difficult to re-saturate the soil for plant health. Once this occurs, plants become more susceptible to diseases and pests. Since plants require a certain amount of moisture to survive, it's important for property owners to know how to perform a moisture analysis.
Various soil types retain moisture differently. For instance, sandy soils have the most difficulty conserving water. Water is slowly absorbed in clay soils; however, once it absorbs the water, it will be able to hold onto it. Surveying the look and feel of soil can help you determine if it's moist; however, a moisture analysis will provide you with more accurate results.
There are a few cases where a moisture analysis is important. For instance, some irrigation systems have moisture analysis probes that measure moisture levels, determining whether the system should be turned on or shut off. This moisture analysis will also reveal how much water is needed to restore the soil.
A moisture analysis is also helpful if you're planting a rain garden. This is because you may need to know how quickly areas will drain. You may also need to know how much water is being held in the soil immediately after it rains, 24 hours after it rains, and more than 48 hours after you've received rainfall. Measuring soil moisture is also beneficial for gardens in arid climates.
How to Perform a Moisture Analysis
To perform a moisture analysis, you will need to first take a soil sample from the region you want to test. You'll then need to weigh it before drying it out for 24 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the sample has dried, you'll want to weigh it again. To determine the moisture level of the soil, you will need to compare the two weights and the volume of the soil sampled.
This type of analysis is more applicable in large scale field agriculture than in lawn care management. This is because it is useful to know how quickly moisture leaves the soil after irrigation. To test this, do a sample moisture analysis of the same area directly after irrigation, again after 24 hours of irrigating, and then 48 hours after irrigating.
While a drought can damage one's lawn, overwatering may cause plants to die. For this reason, it's important to be careful when replenishing a lawn. Correctly performing a moisture analysis is also more complicated than it sounds. Therefore, if you're concerned a possible moisture deficiency, you may want to hire a professional lawn care company to do a moisture analysis.