3 Ways to Improve Your Soil and Build a Healthier Landscape

One of the most overlooked maintenance issues in the landscape is soil health. When your soil is healthy it processes nutrients well, has minimal rain runoff, will retain moisture, and can better host microbial activity. All of this positive action builds a smart structure for roots. Healthy roots mean happy plants and trees.

Have the Soil Tested

The best way to improve soil is to first understand what is inside the soil. The only way to do that is to test the soil to see what issues lie beneath. Soil should be tested on organic matter content, soil composition, pH, and nutrient content. You can reach out to a University Extension Office or Cooperative Extension Office to get a test kit or learn about soil testing services.

Improve Soil Organically

Once the test results come back, you will also learn more about what type of soil you have; heavy clay, sandy, or toxic. After you receive the test scores you can go to a local nursery, horticulturist, or other expert and better understand next steps for amending and improving the soil you have. It is always best to improve the soil organically. This means to not add a heavy level of chemicals or fertilizers to the soil but to, instead, add organic rotted manure and compost, healthy garden soil, leaf mold, and other natural ingredients. This content will form a rich microbial supporting foundation for your landscape plantings.

Use Mulch

One of the most important additions to a landscape is an annual layer of mulch because it helps hold water and nutrition in the soil. Mulch is a strong tool to help reduce evaporation and hold moisture, which can save money and prevent soil erosion. Organic mulch such as pine needles, grass clippings, hardwood chips, straw, compost, or leaf mold are preferred. As the organic mulch decomposes, it releases nutrients into the soil, thereby strengthening the microbial activity within the soil and improving the soil over time. 

Soil health is the most important part of landscaping; a healthy soil will equate to a healthier landscape that requires less maintenance and has less complications in the future.

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