It’s possible that you are under the impression that all the soil in your yard is plain old dirt. However, there is so much more to it than that. There are microorganisms that live within the soil and have a very important role to play for your gardens. Having favourable soil means it has a balanced pH level, enough nutrients, good structure, and plenty of organic matter. This is going to allow the microbes to prosper and aid in protecting and nourishing your plants.
Whereas if you have unhealthy soil, it can be compact, have no organic matter, no nutrients, and no oxygen. This environment is going to inhibit plant growth, the root development, and your plants’ overall health. Our team at Five Star Tree Services wants to teach you how to improve your soil quality and help your plants thrive.
The first step to understanding how to care for your soil is to know exactly what type of soil you are dealing with. There are things like soil composition, which includes minerals, organic components, water, and air (consisting of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen). Organic components found in soil include living and dead organisms, such as fungi, insects, and humus (which is formed by decomposing plants). This helps to recycle, filter, release, and store important nutrients within the soil.
Depending on where you live will impact what soil type you have. Here are the different soil types.
This is where you can find an even mix of clay, sand, and silt. It will have a balanced texture, good structure, retain moisture & nutrients, and have good drainage. In order to maintain structure and nutrient levels, make sure to replenish it with organic matter.
This is considered rich and fertile but contains smaller particles than sandy soil. It will have a smooth and fine quality to it. This soil is prone to erosion and requires regular aeration and additional organic matter. You will also need to compost annually. It requires being covered by vegetation or mulch all the time. This soil holds water a lot better than sandy soil.
This is a heavy soil that consists of small particles that restrict air movement. It can store water well but makes it hard for air to get in it. There are benefits to adding organic matter like mulch, biochar, and compost. This is going to help lighten it and help to improve the structure.
You will notice that this is a darker soil and can feel spongy and damp. This is from it having higher levels of peat, which loves moisture. In the spring, it heats up quickly and likes to retain water, making it so that you will need proper drainage. It is also acidic, which means you will need to use additional organic matter, compost, and lime in order to create balance.
This is a light soil that consists of particles of weathered rock. The tendency for this soil is to have lower nutrients and bad water retention. This will heat up quickly and dry out any moisture. Meaning that you will need to continuously water it. Adding organic matter is beneficial as it will improve the nutrients and help it to retain water better.
This is a large-grain soil and it dries out fast when the weather is warm. It is also known to crack easily under these conditions. Another thing is that it holds nutrients and doesn’t circulate it. This makes it more alkaline and leads to leaves turning yellow. You will need to add organic matter and fertilizer. But do not add extra lime as it already has higher levels of it.
Conditions for Healthy Soil
The simple equation is in order to have healthy plants, you need healthy soil. Now, you might be wondering what soil needs to stay healthy? Since your plants gather nutrients from the soil in order to grow, you will need to make sure it has minerals, organic matter, and fertilizer. Along with the proper pH levels, good drainage, water retention, and air circulation. Having the proper amounts of these things will ensure you have healthy, happy plants. If you want to figure out how your soil is doing and what it needs, you can do a soil test. This will give you a clear idea of the organic matter, pH, and nutrients within it.
What Unhealthy Soil Looks Like
Do you have unhealthy soil? How would you know? There are a few ways to find out.
What The Soil Looks Like
One is to pull your plants and see how the soil reacts. If it comes up in hard clumps with stunted root growth, this is an indicator of bad soil. Another thing you might notice is that when it rains or you are watering, the water will gather on the surface and not absorb. This is a sign of compacted soil with poor drainage. Cracked or dry soil indicated a lack of water/moisture present.
See Any Worms?
A good sign of healthy soil is earthworms. If they are not within a foot deep of soil, this is a huge red flag that you have unhealthy soil.
Your plants can also help indicate if you have unhealthy soil. You might see things like poor growth, smaller leaves, branch dieback, death, and unresponsiveness to proper care.
Soil Quality Improvement
A balanced and healthy soil ecosystem is going to help your plants access nutrients, air, and water easier. Making this key to the success of your plants. If you want healthy soil, remember these things:
-Improve physical properties by adding organic matter. This is going to help air and water get around your plants roots, encouraging healthy root growth and decreasing the risk of soil compaction.
-Use mulch to cover the soil to: prevent erosion, help increase the organic matter, retain more moisture, moderate soil temperature, and prohibit weeds.
-Use biochar to help boost the aeration and drainage
How Five Star Tree Services Can Help
Plant care can be a science. With proper and healthy soil, your plants will flourish and be healthy too. If you need assistance with Tree Care Services in Richmond Hill, our team at Five Star Tree Services is here to help! Give us a call at (416) 990-3355 today!