Your Garden Soil Doesn’t Absorb Water (with fixes!)

Check for hydrophobic soil

If your soil is mostly peat moss, it can be hydrophobic. Make sure you’re using a variety of organic materials as your compost. Variety is your key to healthy soil!


Change or upgrade the soil

Add some mulch or compost to the soil. If that quick fix doesn’t work, send a soil sample to your local agricultural school. They can analyze it and let you know which nutrients it needs – or if you’ve got too much of another.


Prime your soil

Pro tip: Ensure that there is no runoff by covering the surface with a mulch like straw, wood chips, or compost.  Pro tip #2: Worms are your friend. If you don’t have any, add some. They’ll help naturally aerate your soil and keep things growing well.

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Use soil wetting agent

Give your dry soil a little help by applying some soil wetting agents. These agents break down waxy barriers that form during the hot summer months from the build-up of compost and mulch.


An easy solution to hydrating your plant back to life is to soak it in a bucket full of water. You can tell that your plant is dry by seeing if a lot of bubbles come up to the surface.

Soak a pot full of soil in water



Root-bound plants can also happen in your garden if you’ve got clay-heavy soil. This is one time it may be beneficial to till in some compost – to jumpstart your soil’s overall improvement. And it’ll help prevent root-bound garden plants.

Check if your plant is root bound



Natural ingredients, such as mushrooms, manure, worm castings, and bonemeal can be used to revive the soil. Just keep in mind that if you’re using animal-based products to improve soil, you may attract pests and rodents. 

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Use an all-natural solution

Depending on how actively your plants grow, you may need to repot every 12 to 18 months.

Repot it completely

Repot it completely



There are many ways to revive dead soil and treat soil that is repelling water. With various methods that are accessible to all budgets and levels of gardening experience, there should be no reason to let your soil dehydrate. It may take time to get it right, but the payoff will be worth it. There's obviously more, so read the article for the other tips!

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