Have you ever noticed that your lawn greens up when it rains and never happens when you run your irrigation system?

Here is what is great about rainwater:

  • It is free of most impurities and minerals. When water evaporates the minerals, and any impurities are left behind. Generally, anything in the water was collected in the atmosphere.
  • The pH of rain ranges from 5 -6 which is acidic. This is very beneficial to our soil. Here in Central Texas our soils are normally alkaline, ranging from 7 – 9. When our soils are high in pH, the nutrients will get tied up since the sodium level are also high. This means that the nutrients that are in the soil are not available to the plants. When the rain falls with an acidic pH, it will release all these ties up nutrients. The plants will take this in immediately and appears to really wake up after the rain.
  • When there are heavy rainfalls coupled with the low pH, it will flush out the toxins in the soil (sodium) and provide a healthier soil ecosystem.

Here is the scoop on your irrigation water:

  • If you are using city water, it typically comes from a well or lake. Our ground water will most likely have a higher pH than desired along with impurities. Products used when treating the water for human consumption is not necessarily good for the soil. It will build up in the soil profile and create an unhealthy environment for microbes which are important to having healthy plants.
  • When we have long periods of no rainfall which is typically when we need it most in the summer, we are relying on the irrigation to cover the needs of all of our plants. Irrigation really is best when supplementing rainfall for just a short period of time. It is not beneficial to replace it. Our soil can become hydrophobic in these situations which means it will repel water. This problem is a whole other topic.

These are some of the reasons why the rain is very beneficial for our plants and our irrigation does not have the same effect. There are ways to help our soil if we can’t get enough rain when needed. That will be covered next month.