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How To Tell If Soil Is Dry? – Full Guide

In spring, many devoted gardeners get tempted to plant new vegetables, flowers, and plants. They begin to think about tilling the garden soil even when it’s not dry enough to till. This temptation and rush may cause a bigger problem than good.

In agricultural production or home gardens, the condition and structure of the soil are of great significance. Both of these elements decide the quality and quantity of crop production.

Telling If Soil is Dry

The soil condition, structure, and weather around it determine the destiny of the agricultural production and garden plants.

The condition and structure of the soil are dramatically affected by the right time and process of tilling. Therefore, it is crucial to know when is the right time to till the soil. Today, we will be providing you the necessary information you must have before you decide to till your backyard soil.

How To Tell If The Soil Is Dry Enough To Till?

One of the most crucial elements in the production of crops is tilling. Tilling prepares the soil for new agricultural crop production. Tilling enables the soil to completely get rid of stubborn weeds (that are unwanted wild plants).

Tilling also helps cultivate the soil for better production conditions. But when is the right time to till? How would you know that this is the right time to till the soil? How to tell if the soil is dry enough to till? We have answers to all your questions.

To know whether your garden soil is dry enough to till, grab a handful of soil from your garden. Then squeeze and round the soil in your hand and make a soil ball.

Throw this ball into the air and observe whether it breaks or not when it touches the ground. If the soil ball easily breaks down, then your soil is dry enough to till. But if it doesn’t, you have to stay patient and wait for the right time.

Another way to determine whether your soil is dry enough to till is through a squeeze test. Again, take a handful of soil from your garden, form a ball, and press your fingers against it.

If the ball easily breaks down into multiple pieces, your soil is ready to till. But if not, your garden still needs some time to dry to be tilled.

Why Not Till The Wet Soil?

Different types of soil have different types of coarse and fine particles. The coarse particles include gravel and sand, whereas the fine particles are responsible for holding gravel or sand together in the form of clay.

The fine particles are responsible for acting as a binder to join different types of coarse particles together. Therefore, the more fine particles in the soil, the better binding of the soil particles. Although tilling the wet soil is easy to compact, the soil, when dry, forms stubborn clays.

The soil structure becomes hard to return to its original form. In the hardened dried clays, the plant’s roots get stuck and feel hard to penetrate in search of moisture and minerals.

All the plants require the proper amount of water and food for healthy growth and production. This hardness of the soil becomes a nightmare for the farmers and gardeners. The hardened soil clays become hurdles and barriers in the supply of water and essential minerals to the plants.

How to Tell if Soil is Dry

The plants’ roots need the soil structure to penetrate in search of food and water quickly. They need the soil structure that acts as a sponge and absorbs the necessary amount of water.

Therefore, the tilling must be done when the soil is dry enough to accommodate the seed germination and plant growth. When done correctly, tilling can accommodate the essential supply of water and minerals for seed germination and plant roots growth.

How To Tell When Soil Is Dry Enough To Plow

Similar to tilling, plowing cultivates (land) for better seed germination and plant roots health. Unlike tilling where a certain portion or width of the soil surface is tilled, plowing works deeper in the soil.

Plowing prepares the land by breaking any stubborn clays, completely removing weeds, and improving soil structure for better plant penetration in search of water, air intake, and nutrients. Plowing is the process where the entire surface is tilled rather than a portion of the soil surface.

For plowing different seed tillage tools are used. Such as moldboard plow, chisel plow, one-way disc barrow, disc plow, tandem discs barrow, field cultivator, etc.

Similar to tilling, the right time to plow the soil is when it is moist. If plowing is done in wet soil, it can generate similar problems such as hardened soil clay, difficult water supply, and broken pore surfaces.

If done on wet or soggy soil, plowing can become a messy plus difficult mistake to be corrected. The plowing should also not be done when the soil is completely dry. Plowing on completely dried soil may maximize the chance of losing topsoil to wind.

As a result, the best and most appropriate time to yield more benefits of plowing is when the soil is moist. You can run similar tests as described for tilling to know if your land soil is dry enough to plow.

Final Words

Both tilling and plowing, cultivate your garden or land properly for agricultural production or healthy growth of garden plants. The right time for both these cultivating techniques is when your land or garden soil is moist.

The soil shouldn’t be too wet or dry. Tilling and plowing on wet soil can dramatically damage the soil structure and pore spaces. This can result in complicated growth problems for plants. Tilling or plowing should also not be done when the soil is super dry.

Tilling or plowing on fully dried soil may increase the chances of losing topsoil to wind. All in all, the right time to till or plow is when the soil is moist and not too wet to form lumps.