Soil Composition And Watering Needs
There are 3 different types of soils common to the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine
areas, Clay, Sand,
Each soil type has
its own properties and reacts differently to being given the same amount of water. An inch of water applied to
sandy soil will water deeper and remain in the top 12 inches of the soil where it can be accessed by
the majority of plant roots in our area for a much shorter amount of time than that same inch of water applied
to soils with a heavy clay composition.
3 descriptions of the different types of soils and how they affect your need to water the root systems of the
plants growing there. Hopefully this will help
you figure out what type of soil you have to determine the specific
watering needs for your North Florida landscape.
1. Clay Soils–
Clay soils are made up of particles that stick
together well and also hold on to water very well.
To help determine if your soil is made up of mostly clay,
you take a handful of soil and squeeze it together. Once
squeezed, open up your fingers and observe whether or not the soil is still in a ball. The more clay it has, the less brittle and more solid it will
Water is absorbed slowly into clay soil,
the clay in soils holds onto water that is absorbed for a longer time than would sandy or loamy soil,
thus reducing the frequency of water needed to add moisture to the soil for plant
2. Sandy Soils-
Sandy soils are comprised of less dense soil and
sand particles. Sand also has worse water holding
properties than clay, water passes right through it.
To determine how much sand is in your soil, take a handful
of the soil and squeeze it together. If the clump of soil falls
apart, then your soil is more sandy. Unlike clay, sandy soil
shouldn’t hold together well and should break apart in your hand.
Water can pass through sand quickly, but
sandy soils also can also dry out quickly after a watering. So,
as a rule, sandy soils require more frequent watering, but it usually takes less
water to reach the depth of 6-8 inches required to properly water your new grass sod
3. Loam Soils -
Loam is a combination of the clay and sandy
soils. Most yards will have some sort of this
combination of soils in them.
When you do the same squeeze test as described before, loam
will be somewhere between the solid ball of clay and the sand
that falls apart easily. A good loam combination could
have the water retaining properties of clay and the faster water penetration of the sandy
How Much Water will your new sod need?
Soil composition isn't the only thing that can effect your sods need for water.
Environmental factors such as sun exposure, recent rainfall rates, wind conditions and even the slope of
the land are all pieces of the puzzle that we need to fit together to determine how and when to water our
Follow these tips on watering needs
of sod and remember to check your soil each day in the first few weeks as you begin to
understand how your soil affects your watering needs of your new lawn grass sod.