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A wide building overhang or large areas of pavement near shrub beds will reduce the total amount of water entering the soil. Other dry situations include planting areas with insufficient soil volumes to accommodate the plant's root system, compacted soils, and sites that are commonly windy and experience regular high temperatures (e.g., near parking lots, southern and western exposures). The quality of the soil can also have a direct effect on the moisture-holding capacity. Soils that are commonly sandy are considered dry soils because they tend to drain very quickly and available water moves below the root zone or evaporates from the soil surface; however, heavy clay and loam soils that have greater water-holding capacity can also be dry depending on the site. The addition of organic matter to sandy or other dry soils will improve its quality. Dry soils frequently exist under the canopy of large trees whose root systems take water from the soil at the expense of other plants growing nearby. In addition, mulching and providing supplemental water (e.g., watering deeply) will benefit plants in dry situations. The following plants will tolerate drier sites than most:
Prepared by N. Robert Nuss, retired professor of horticulture. Reviewed and revised by Scott Guiser, retired extension educator and Jim Sellmer, professor of ornamental horticulture.
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