Effect Upon Moisture
Coarse manures should not be plowed down late in
the spring, as they increase the ill effects of drouth. Decayed
vegetation, well mixed with the soil, increases the soil's
water-holding capacity, but undecayed material in the bottom of the
furrow is harmful. Fresh, strawy manure, made immediately before the
time for breaking a sod, is preferably carried over in a covered shed
until a later season of the year.
When manure has been spread upon a sod in the fall or early winter, it
decays quickly after the plowing, and aids in resistance to drouth.
When it is plowed down, the ground is kept more porous, and the
presence of plant-food and moisture at or near the depth of plowing
encourages deeper rooting of plants, and thus indirectly assists them
to withstand dry weather. If the plowing is good in character, leaving
the furrow-slice partly on edge, and permitting the harrow to mix part
of the turf and the manure with the remainder of the soil, the best
conditions respecting moisture are secured.
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