Drought Resistant Soil
By Preston Sullivan, NCAT Agriculture Specialist
To minimize the impact of drought, soil needs to capture the rainwater that falls on it, store as much of that water as possible for future plant use, and allow for plant roots to penetrate and proliferate. These conditions can be achieved through management of organic matter, which can increase water storage by 16,000 gallons per acre foot for each 1% organic matter. Organic matter also increases the soil’s ability to take in water during rainfall events, assuring that more water will be stored. Ground cover also increases the water infiltration rate while lowering soil water evaporation. When all these factors are taken together the severity of drought and the need for irrigation are greatly reduced.
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