Identifying and Repairing Soil Problems
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 22, 2021)
Identifying and repairing soil problems isn't something that is necessarily hard or difficult. Rather, it is simply a process that has a few steps. As long as you know what those steps are, you will be able to properly prepare your garden year after year. The end result will be that you have perfectly prepared your garden, or landscape, to be as beautiful as possible. After all, isn't that what we are all looking for anyway, a beautiful garden?
- Identify the needs of your plants. The very first step in identifying and repairing soil problems lays with the plants themselves, and not the soil. If you don't know the nutritional requirements for your particular plants, then how do you know if the soil that you have will meat their needs? Do a little research, and find out the particular nutritional requirements for each of the plants that you plan on using, and then write them down. This will give you a range that you can work with.
- Get the soil tested. Get a few samples of soil from around your garden site, and take them to your local county extension office. They can test your soil there, and tell you what the current pH balance is. While there may be a nominal fee associated with this service, it is well worth it to determine whether you have soil that is too alkaline or acidic. The local county extension office may even have some ideas as to what additives work best in your area of the country.
- Add nutrients as necessary. If you find that your soil is too acidic or to alkaline, you will need to take a few additional steps. This is usually done through the process of adding some nutrients, or additives to your soil that can correct any imbalance that you may have found. You can also take a look at our article on doing this by typing in the phrase "getting the right soil pH" into the search box at the top of the screen.
- Aerate regularly. One of the best ways to keep your soil in tip top condition is to regularly aerate it. While this may not be particularly necessary for long time gardeners, it will be necessary for new gardens, or lawns. By aerating your lawn yearly, and tilling your garden soil yearly, you will be able to combat compact soil, which can often cause gardening problems.
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