Garden vegetables, lawn grasses, trees and flowers require nutrients to grow and thrive. Healthy soils provide nutrients and favorable conditions to support your plants’ requirements. Soils that exhibit nutritional deficiencies or poor porosity may require treatments to improve their health and texture. Some soil problems are obvious, while others require soil tests to determine the cause of poor plant growth. Treat your soil to eliminate problems and supply healthy nutrients, encouraging the formation of healthy vegetation.
Aerate Your Lawn Soil
Soil that remains in place for years can become hard and compact. This can be the case with lawn soils that sustain heavy traffic or contain high levels of clay. Compacted soils reduce the amount of water and airflow to your plants roots. Loosen the soil with a core aeration machine. This type of lawn machine treats your soil by plucking out plugs of compacted soil and vegetation. Perform this treatment in the late summer or early fall. Soak your lawn soil a few days before aerating to soften the soil prior to removing the plugs. Perform this soil treatment about once every three years in your established lawn.
Soil often requires amendments to ensure adequate levels of nutrients. The first step in amending your soil involves the completion of a soil test. Soil tests allow you to determine which types of amendments your soil requires, as well as the pH level of your existing soil. Soils can change over the years, especially in areas where vegetation growth depletes the soil. Incorporate the recommended ingredients into your soil to establish a healthy medium. Maintain the health of your amended soil by fertilizing each year. Treat your soil each spring before tilling or preparing your seedbeds. Select your fertilizer based on the types of plants you wish to grow. Choose a fertilizer formulated for vegetables to use in your garden soil or a fertilizer labeled for use on flowering plants for your flowerbeds. Work the fertilizer into the top 3 to 5 inches of soil to maintain adequate levels of nutrients.
Adjust Soil Porosity
Heavy clay soils pose a problem for many gardeners. The compact nature of this type of soil requires treatment to loosen the fine particles and allow space between them for water and air. Improve the porosity in your clay soil with organic materials, such as compost, animal manure and decaying leaves. Incorporate the organic matter into the top 8 inches of soil, using a tractor or garden tiller. This type of treatment loosens the soil and increases the level of nitrogen, forming a healthy medium for your plants.