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Moisture Map Your Garden – Save Water
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Moisture Map Your Garden – Save Water

Moisture mapping, is a tool used extensively on golf courses, determining which areas need more water than others. This way the irrigation is only applied on the areas where required. Dense mapping on a one metre grid is undertaken on the greens, as this can solve so many issues, like anaerobic conditions, hydrophobic conditions, black layering and thatch build up.

But this article is not about Golf Courses, but rather the garden. How do I map the garden? The tools necessary for the mapping is a moisture meter and a piece of paper. Draw a rough sketch of the garden, depicting flowerbeds, lawn and pavements. Depict the house, and mark the areas covered by the irrigation station as per the station coverage.

Start by irrigating the garden, or start on a morning after the irrigation was run during the night. Take moisture readings at a two metre grid interval throughout the grassed area, and mark these on the paper prepared. Now take readings in the flowerbeds at one metre intervals and mark these also on the paper.

Dependant on which moisture meter you have purchased, the readings will be in either a percentage or a number from one to ten. If the model is a percentage reader, you would be looking for a reading of at least 25 percent. This is the correct reading for well wet soil. If the meter is a number, three to four, is the required number.

Varying readings will result, due to the fact that differing soils, keep differing amounts of water, but you are looking for lines of similar value. Repeat the survey again the next day, but this time, without irrigating or receiving any precipitation, mark these values on the same paper. Now you can analysis the results. Areas that showed the biggest drop in value are the areas that need your attention, as well as areas showing low readings that change very little over night.

There are two ways of correcting quicker drying areas, one, irrigate the dry areas more often than the wet, or two, apply a wetting agent to the quick drying areas. The idea behind this, is to save water, for areas in the world where it is a scarcity.

What is a wetting agent, and where can I it be bought? A wetting agent, or surfactant is a chemical based product, it clears the soils of the waxy build up they develop, which create hydrophobic conditions. A wetting agent is basically a soap, that will clean the surface of the particles for an improved penetration as well as an improved level of moisture. Hydrophobic soils dispel water, so the water runs off to an area without the condition.(the hydrophobic areas will show low readings, with no change over night.) After treating with an agent the water penetrates the surface easier, and retention improves. Do not confuse this with the wetting gels that are available today, used to soak up water and retain it, this is used more extensively in pot plants soil.

Where is this product available? at any good garden centre or farmers supply store.


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