Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dry Soil Characteristics

by C. Sherman Henes and Cassi Henes

Moisture is an essential element to soil—it’s a lubricant that traps air and allows soil particles to slide together. Too much moisture and the ground becomes muddy and unable to bear weight. Too little moisture and the soil breaks into its individual particles and blows away.

Dry soil also decreases the depth of plant roots because the plants spread out shallow roots in an attempt to absorb as much moisture as possible. This means that our yards are more delicate, our trees start to wither and provide less shade, and many of our plants produce less. All of these factors cause our yards and homes to feel hotter and our allergies to act up more frequently. We also start noticing burned patches in our grass and brittle leaves on our plants. In an effort to counteract these issues, we water more. For some reason, this doesn’t seem to help. That’s because most of us are also battling a layer of hardened clay underneath the grass, which is literally siphoning the water to the nearest permeable soil. Unfortunately, the end result can be that the water intended for your grass is being forced into the ground beneath your foundation—this is called the “clay bowl effect”.

If you’re noticing that your basement walls appear to be bowing or cracking, Peak Structural Specialists would be happy to sit down and go through your options with you. Many times, a solution can be as simple sprinkler positioning or grading. We’re here to help you resolve these problems, so please contact us today for a no obligation consultation and estimate.

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