Texas: Healthy Soil 101
May 21, 2019
Have you ever wondered what is going on in the soil beneath your feet? Well, the answer is: a lot. We decided it’s the perfect time to dig a little deeper into your soil and reveal what does and doesn’t make it healthy.
What is Soil made of?
Soil is a complex mix of many elements: water, air, organic matter, and microorganisms like microbes and mycorrhizae. Each of these elements work together to form a healthy, functioning soil that supports all life on earth.
What soil does…
- Soil is the base that grows all our food and plants, which in turn absorbs carbon dioxide and release oxygen – allowing us to breath.
- Many important organisms, like bacteria and fungi, live in soil. In fact, soil is teeming with microscopic life we can’t see. Soils are also habitat for many insects like earthworms and beetles.
- The microorganisms found in soil break down organic matter, producing important nutrients that plants take up. Soil also serves to break down harmful chemicals and heavy metals in the environment.
- Soil holds water, preventing runoff, and also filters groundwater.
What damages soil?
It’s important to know that soil in our urban environments doesn’t just stay healthy on it’s own. Because soil is essentially a living ecosystem, it’s never static. Over time, it can become compacted and lifeless. Each component of soil performs a necessary function, but when conditions are less than ideal, soil cannot properly nourish plants and trees.
Common problems we see in North Texas soils include:
- Compacted soil due to construction, heavy rain, and foot and vehicle traffic.
- Low fertility soils caused by compaction, leaching, removal of organic matter, and overuse of synthetic chemicals.
- Heavy clay soils that don’t have large enough pores to let roots breathe and grow.
- Slow draining soils, meaning less water can be taken up by plants & instead creates runoff.
How can you improve soil?
To help keep our soil healthy, we must take steps to nourish and feed it. Urban environments - with the construction, compaction, and applied chemicals - are nothing like the naturally functioning ecosystem. So you should take steps to supplement and support your soil as part of your ongoing landscape maintenance activities. Aerating and adding organic matter should be on your to-do list.
How We Help
Our SEASONS Tree and SEASONS Lawn programs help to keep your soil healthy and full of life so they can grow strong trees and lawns. We apply timely bio-fertilizer applications in the spring, summer, and fall of liquid compost with mycorrhizal fungi along with other healthy soil microorganisms. Organic amendments such as seaweed, fish and humates stimulate biological activity in the soil, fostering a healthy soil environment, and allowing nutrients to become available for uptake by your trees and landscape.
In addition to adding beneficial microbes back to your soil, aeration also serves to heal your soil by reducing the compaction that is so prominent in urban soils.
If you would like to help your soils return to a healthy system that reduces the dependence on synthetic chemicals, give us a call. We would love to put your soil back on the right and healthy track.