post hole digging Toronto

Does Wetting Soil Make It Easier To Dig?

Some post hole digging Toronto residents believe that wetting the soil makes it easier to dig. There is some speculation among those who dig holes that wetting their soil will make it easier to lift. This logic comes from how soil clumps up when it gets wet. As a result, it will be easier to keep together when you move it. But with this in mind, does wetting soil make it easier to dig?

The short answer: typically not. Wetting the soil makes it more complicated to dig up. While it is easier to compact this way, wet soil is far heavier than its dry counterpart. But different types of soil can behave differently, and we will dig into how you can use the moisture of soil to your advantage.

Why is Wet Soil Hard to Dig?

Wet soil causes two distinct issues that you need to be aware of:

  • First, wet soil happens to clump together and weigh more. As a result, your shovel blade will struggle to dig deep into damp soil, causing more effort to be needed.
  • Second, wet soil also clings to the surface of your shovel. That means you will need to bash your shovel against a nearby wall to remove clumps of dirt from it.

The only time wet soil makes things more manageable is to keep a large amount of sandy soil together. Even in this case, the wetness of the earth may make it somewhat challenging to dig up.

How Can You Use Soil Moisture to Your Advantage?

When digging post holes, the first step you can take is to start with pilot holes that go about ten inches down. If you have ever dug into thick, clay soil, you already know it can be a pain to heft up large clumps.

However, digging post holes can be easier if you manage to get clay soil just below the surface to collect enough water to loosen up. That means you need to be wetting and waiting until the earth below the surface is loose enough to lift.

What if The Surface is Hard to Dig?

Even if you don’t have clay holes, you can wet the surface to encourage thick chunks of earth to soften off. The idea is to wait until it starts to dry out, allowing for loose (but not wet) earth to be moveable.

This process may require you to wet the ground multiple times, so you can expect this to be a several hour project. If you aren’t sure of your time and availability, you can also leave this in the hands of a professional.


While wet earth by itself isn’t easy to dig, one can use how moisture affects the dirt to their advantage. Damp earth can clump up, become heavier, and stick to the blades of your shovel.  However, clay soils hard on the surface can break up after digging 10 inches into the ground. This wetting process underneath the top layer of earth allows you to lift entire earth pillars with a post hole digger easily.

Given that this process can be a bit time consuming, it is entirely understandable to call a professional. If you need post-hole digging services Toronto has to offer, give us a call at City Wide Post Digging.