Is your garden’s soil affecting how well your plants grow? While it may seem like any old dirt will work, subtle differences in your soils’ nutrient levels, compaction and moisture retention can dramatically affect how well your plants grow. It’s time to get to know your loam to help ensure that your garden and landscaping flourish this spring.
One of the many problems that soil can face is when it becomes too compacted. As time and downwards pressure from wind, rain, snow and walking feet pass over the earth it begins to compact. Over time this can cause roots to have a harder time growing and moisture to penetrate less effectively. Some compaction is normal, and nature does well to combat it. But when there is too much pressure from frequent walking or heavy items left on the soil you may need to aerate or till. To prevent compaction, make clear walkways through your landscape and stick to them or try to maintain irregular patterns while walking.
Check Your Texture
Different soil types are better for different kinds of plants. While you can add a layer of topsoil to achieve the results you want, in some cases it may be best to stick with native plants. Soil texture, in particular, can have a significant impact on plant life. It is divided into three categories: course, medium, and fine. Getting familiar with the texture of your soil can help you ensure your garden thrives.
Enriching your soil’s nutrients can help improve quality significantly. Compost is a great way to add back to your land! Along with dead leaves, grass, and weed scraps, you can add food scraps and some shredded paper and wood pulp based items to create a nourishing base for plants.
Try Cover Crops
Once the growing season has ended, some plants can be grown to improve the quality and nutrient levels of the soil. Usually, these are beans and grasses that will get tilled into the soil at the start of the next year. Along with adding nutrients, these crops help to improve soils moisture levels and reduce any compaction that might have occurred.
Some soil issues can be resolved with the help of balancing chemicals like lime or fertilizer. Before you try adding anything yourself, be sure to get a soil test done. Soil testing is an integral part of ensuring that everything in your landscape is going as well as possible. Testing can be done regularly to help keep track of what changes have occurred and how well your soil is faring. If you live in areas near large cities, where air pollution and runoff can be more prevalent, testing your soil more regularly can help dramatically reduce the damage done by unwanted chemicals and minerals.
Questions? Lehnhoff’s Supply is Here to Help
If you still have more questions about how to best prepare your landscape or garden for spring, the trained professionals at Lehnhoff’s Supply are here to help you. Find us at 2708 Belair Road, Fallston, MD 21047 and give us a call at 410-510-7646. For tips, tricks, and to see what we have been up to, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
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