Changes in Colorado soil leads to less water absorption on lawns

Colorado’s soil is changing due to longer growing seasons and altered precipitation patterns caused by climate change. In fact, the last six months of 2021 were the hottest on record – beating Colorado’s previous record set almost 100 years earlier during the Dust Bowl.

Colorado’s changing soil is not limited to the state’s agricultural industry, as lawns throughout communities are beginning to experience a condition known as Hydrophobic soil.

When soil is healthy, it contains a plethora of organic matter, which enables it to retain moisture longer so it can adequately hydrate root systems – even during challenging weather conditions.

Hydrophobic soil occurs when viable bacteria and other fungal life die off due to a lack of moisture. The soil becomes so dry that an almost waxy residue builds on the soil particles, repelling water rather than adequately absorbing it.

Additionally, Hydrophobic soils near the Colorado mountains are now limiting the snow-melt runoff expected during the spring from flowing into rivers and streams as the parched soils are essentially drinking first.

Hydrophobic soil on lawns can be improved with patience and perseverance by following these steps in this order – aerate your lawn, amend the organic makeup of the soil, and hydrate.

Aeration – helps break through the waxy coating allowing pockets for amendments and hydration to penetrate the root system fully.

Amendments – adding extra-fine compost, wood chip particles, or other types of tiny organic matter to the lawn’s surface will fall into the pockets created by aeration, thus enriching the soil’s overall health.

Hydration – watering your lawn evenly for one hour (or to a depth of two inches if no rain is in the forecast) will kick-start the repair process underground. NOTE: you may need to reseed as the season progresses, as some turf areas may not return to full vigor. For drought stressed areas, practice proper watering while adhering to local restrictions. Water between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to avoid wind spray waste and evaporation.

Contact a local SavATree professional today to help identify and repair Hydrophobic soil.

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