Help, I have laid out my woodland garden in a dry slope, what am I doing now?

In a previous posts in this series if the water in the forest garden, I described a typical case, I called typical 1, where the water is spread on the slope and the concentration of water in the ground is relatively low. Typically correctly pronounced, but there are many milder variants of this with similar problems, which also includes light slopes. Modes facing south to the West are more vulnerable than the northern slopes. Although there is a shortage of water in such situations, there is much you can do to still be able to get to a woodland garden-like setting:

  1. Remove the wind. The attic has a drying effect at all times and you can get rid of it is very winning. in lähäck, a plank, a wall or embankment, all possible solutions for wind problems. More about lähäckar I will write in a future post.
  2. Raise the humus content. To increase the humus content in the soil will bring only positive and I wrote a few years ago making each percent increase in carbon content is a big difference in the Earth's water holding capacity. In any case, if you have a light soil, with high proportion of sand. For quite as easy as I wrote in the post when it does not. In fine-grained soils with high clay content, it may even be that the water-holding capacity goes down as you increase the carbon content. How it relates to your particular soil, you can figure out a small flight computer that I built in Excel, based on a formula that I found in a scientific article from 2003 [1]. It calculates the percentage of water your soil will hold at field capacity, thus "soil moisture after the free water drained by gravity and the downward water movement ceased.” [2]

What you need to find out the sand- and the clay content of your soil. You can do this by taking a handful of soil, put it in a glass jar, fill with water to 4/5 of the glass volume and shake thoroughly, until all units has dissolved. After a day or preferably a week you will observe that the particles in water solution has settled,. The largest particles settles at the bottom, the finest top. Normally, we see a clear dividing line between the coarse and fine particles, even if the transition is much liquid.

Soil composition can vary greatly over small areas. If you take more samples, Be sure to put clear labels on each sample.

Take a ruler and measure the thickness of both sand- and clay layer. Then share with the entire sediment layer thickness and multiplying by 100, to derive the percentage of each fraction.

Here is the result of a skakprov, after three days of sedimentation. Sediment warehouse total thickness is 40 mm, which approximately 4 mm consists of clay particles and hardly 20 mm of coarser particles. This means that the sand content is at 50% and clay content in 10%. If you enter these numbers in räknesnurran get a water storage capacity of 29% at 3% carbon. You increase the carbon content to 6% earth can barely keep 33% water. Note that this method is quite rough!

Now you can calculate how much impact an increase in humus content will have on the Earth's water storage capacity. The malfunctioning of the whole that not all water at field capacity is also available plant. The boundary between plant-available water and water plants can not take up called permanent wilting point. When you get the answer from räknesnurran, you do also pull off the percentage that comes roughly to your soil. Expect no exact answers, but something so when enough of course also. In the table below you can see what the permanent wilting point is different soils, based on a chart I found here:

Gravel Sand you mjäla easy Clay between Clay rigid clay
Percentage not plant-available water (%) 2,5 8,5 13 17 18 18,5 21

If you have a light clay say 20% clay content 30% sand content will at a carbon content 2,5% have a water storage capacity at field capacity 32%. For light mud, however wilting point of about 18% and then it means that the soil can hold 14% plant-available water, which in a soil volume of one cubic meter would equal 140 l of water. Raise the carbon content, for example, 6% increases levels of plant-available water 18%, or 180 liters per cubic meter jord. In this case, therefore, keep the soil 30% more water if you increase the carbon content of 3 to 6%, something that has a great effect on the plants' well-being.

The gist of all these figures drill is that you have much to gain by increasing the carbon content of the soil if your soil is not too fine. Once it rains, the soil can then absorb and hold much more water that may benefit the plants when it gets dry. *

  1. plant sparser. Planning Distance is a topic for itself, and I mean planting distance should be determined by the availability of water in the future forest garden. The less water there, the greater planting distances simply.
  2. Cover tightly. A thick layer of mulch (preferably leaves, tile, straw or hay) keeps the moisture and enrich the soil with carbonaceous material. Cover at least 1 m in all directions around the newly planted trees and happy 0,5 m around newly planted bushes. Keep the cover in good condition for three to five years, then the establishment better.
Caucasian comfrey is one of the best land coverts we have used in drier locations. It will start early, bloom early, covers the ground well and create habitat for livestock.
  1. Pull down on örtskiktet. We see probably all before us a superfrodigt örtskikt when we think grown forest gardens, but where there is a shortage of water, we should lower the level of ambition rather sharply. Use drought-resistant ground cover as favorite, jordreva, Caucasian comfrey and money leaves and mix them with drought-resistant tuvbildande herbs such Blitum Bonus-Henricus, Rumex Patientia and various mallows. So happy in meadow plants, they will thrive in the long run. Turn örtskiktet regularly and use biomass as mulch around trees and shrubs. Expect that the grass will be difficult to eradicate.
  2. Use irrigation. Are you able to be absolutely be an idea to water your timber garden on a regular basis. The best part is drip irrigation, which saves on water and does not carry the same risk of contamination as irrigation with sprinklers.

In the next part, you get tips on what to do if, instead, you are affected by a high water table.

*I apologize for the imbalance in this section list. I would just double check how it was with the carbon content influence on the earth's capacity to retain water and realized pretty quickly that it was not as easy as I thought, so it was a bit further digression here.


[1] Rawls, WJ, ALREADY. Pachepsky, J.C.. Ritchie, T.M. Sobecki, and H. Bloodworth, Effect of soil organic carbon on soil water retention. Geoderma., 116(1): p. 61, 2003.


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