Soil Treatment | Healthy Lawn and Garden
Healthy soil is an essential part of growing healthy plants. While Fertilization is important, soil PH levels, and organic matter present in the soil are equally important towards productive plant growth.
Fertilizer usually shows 3 numbers with dashes on the front label. These numbers stand for the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium found in the product. They are abbreviated N-P-K. For example, if a label shows 5-10-5, there is 5% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorous, and 5% Potassium. These are the most important nutrients in a fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages foliage growth, Phosphorous contributes to rooting and setting flower buds, and Potassium contributes to the overall health and heartiness of plants. Fertilization helps plants and trees grow at optimal rates.
The soil pH is the measure of soil alkalinity or acidity. The soil pH value directly effects nutrient availability. Vegetables, grasses, and a majority of ornamentals prefer a slightly-acidic soil (pH 5.8 – 6.5). In highly acidic soils, aluminum and manganese can become more available and more toxic to the plant. At low pH values, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are less available to the plant. In soil pH values of 6.5 and above, phosphorus and most of the micronutrients become less available. Adjusting the soil pH to a less acidic substrate can be achieved by a lime treatment (generally in the form of a pulverized, pelletized, or granular lime material). In a spreader-based application, pelletized or granular lime treatment is used to avoid clogging.
Organic Matter in the Soil
Introducing organic matter in the soil can be achieved with a variety of different materials including peat moss, manure, and kitchen scraps, generally in the form of compost. Organic matter will improve the soil tilth, thus improving the feeding of the life within the soil. Good tilth refers to soil that has the proper structure and nutrients to grow healthy crops and plants. The tilth is improved with organic matter because it gives the soil a clumping property which holds water and nutrients more effectively and prevents cracking and water runoff. In addition, organic matter improves soil by stimulating or feeding the life of the soil. It provides nutrients to bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and other organisms in the soil, which in turn recycle the nutrients into forms that are readily available for plants to absorb through their roots.
Proactive maintenance = healthy landscapes
With these proactive methods, your plants should be healthy and hearty throughout the season. Waiting for a plant to lose its color is not always a reliable sign of plant health. Staying proactive and giving your plants a “coat of armor” with the proper fertilizer, acidity levels, and organic matter will ensure a long life for all your plants and trees. Learn more about our lawn fertilization program to keep your lawn looking great.