Do I have Bad Soil?

“A garden is a reflection of the quality of its soil. Gardens filled with beautiful soil have a vitality about them that we can almost feel.”
Landscape Designer and Author Jan Johnsen

Soil quality has a profound impact on your plants, your grass, and your lawn. We have all driven by places that have large brown patches in the grass, or other locations that have more crabgrass than the actual grass that we want to see.

Some of this is due to pests (brown patches) or it can be due to weak grass and plant roots that allow for crabgrass or weeds to easily take hold. However, most of the time this is due to soil quality.

Your Soil type

Knowing how to treat your soil comes largely from knowing what kind of soil you have. Soil is made up of a selection of particles, and each varied concentration makes a different soil type.

The most common types of soils are variants on one of the following types:

  • Clay Soil
  • Sandy Soil
  • Silt
  • Loam

Each one of these has its own characteristics, their own pros and cons.

How do I Know my Soil Type?

To know your soil type, there are a couple of steps that you can take.

The first is to just observe your soil. If it is a collection of small and dense particles that look like they are tightly packed together, then this is a clay-type soil.

On the other hand, if you have large particles that will not hold together unless they are wet, then this is a sandy-type soil.

The third major type of soil, silt-type, is made up of small particles that pack together so tightly drainage may be difficult to impossible.

And finally there is loam. Loam is the preferred soil type because it is a healthy mix of all three of the aforementioned soils. This gives it a proper nutrient balance while offering both stability and breathability for your plants.

You can also test your Soil pH

Testing your soil pH can tell you how your soil is doing from a plant-support standpoint. If your soil is above a 7.5 or lower than a 5.5, then your soil is not ideally suited for plants from a nutrient standpoint. In fact, if you can get a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, this is what is considered to be the ideal.

You can buy any number of at-home DIY test kits, or you can call in professionals to help as a part of your full landscaping service.

Fixing your Soil

Whether you have problems with pH or poor natural soil type, there are ways that you can remedy this and still get the landscape of your dreams right at home.

First, consider the idea of adding organic matter to your lawn or beds. This can include adding leaves, manure, yard waste, or in some cases even microbiotics to your soil.

Second, if you have the misfortune of soil that just will not hold nutrients, you should consider a raised bed in which to place loam. Adding loam to a raised bed will afford you an opportunity to rise above the poor soil quality you may have.

The best way to do all of this is, of course, to call the professionals at Pinnacle Landscaping. We can come out, examine your soil, test the pH, and let you know your best options for a great-looking yard!

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