How to Test Soil Drainage in Your Garden

What You'll Need
Measuring Rod
Post Hole Digger or Shovel

Soil drainage is important to know before you begin to plant any kinds of flowers or plants. Most plants require a soil that provides a good drainage as standing water will usually cause root rot with most plants. Below are some of the necessary steps you will need to go through to properly check the drainage in your soil.

Step 1 – Digging

In order to properly test your garden soil you will need to begin by digging holes in multiple locations in your yard. These holes should be about a foot and a half deep and around six inches wide.

In each hole you will need to put a rod or measuring stick inside. Stick into the ground at the bottom of the holes.

Step 2 – Testing the Areas

The day before you begin to do your actual testing, you should put water in the holes. Allow all of the water to be drained away before you do anything else. After the water has successfully drained, you will need to once again fill the hole with water, all the way to the top this time. To be sure that the top of the hole that you have dug is completely even you may want to use a level.

Once an hour has passed you will need to begin to measure the water level in the hole. On a regular basis you should measure and check so that you can keep track of how quickly the water is absorbing into the soil.

Step 3 – What to Watch For

If you are measuring less than a half of an inch of water in an hour then this means that your soil has a very poor quality of drainage.

If your water drains right at a half inch in an hour then this means that while your soil is slow to drain it is adequate.

Anywhere from one to four inches within an hour means that you will have a lot of luck when planting most types of flowers and plants.

Anything that is more than four inches in an hour is considered very fast draining.

The water should be completely drained out of the hole within four to six hours. This is the ideal amount for your soil. Anything more than eight hours is far too slow to be able to grow most different types of plants or flowers.

Step 4 – Drainage Problems

If your soil seems to have trouble draining quickly, then this means that it contains too much clay.

If your soil drains too quickly then this means that it probably has far too much sand mixed in.

Hopefully if you have dug several holes you will be able to find an area in your yard that is ideal for gardening. For proper soil preparation you should go to your local gardening store and see what they offer to help make your soil drainage ideal. There are things that can help slow draining as well as fast drainage.