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Preparing Healthy Soil Conditions

We’ve talked about maintaining healthy landscape elements with proper irrigation… and this month, the focus is how we work to create healthy soil conditions for your plants. Often our clay soils here in Ohio hold moisture or prevent excess water from draining away.

Molly and I recently experienced a drastic contrast in soil conditions as we toured a landscape company in Petoskey, Michigan. We experienced gorgeous landscapes at some incredible summer homes along the lake. As we toured, we were reminded how impactful different soil types are. Being on Lake Michigan, the area where we were had lots of sand in the soil, creating great drainage. Drainage as well as organic content are huge factors in the size and health of plant material. It was obvious there are fewer issues with disease in that area.

As we arrived back to Ohio and were hit in the face with our humidity again, we realized we cannot control our conditions nor add a lake breeze to help our plants dry, but we can make sure your plants are not sitting in water. Digging a hole twice as big as the root ball is the simple first step. Expanding that planting soil medium to 6 inches to 1 foot below the root ball and throughout the planting bed will allow continued healthy growth without the need for pesticides. Most disease develops due to site conditions. Without a proper host, the pathogen (disease) would not survive. Some properties may need excavation and removal of existing soils, but pea gravel and sand can help create a more permeable situation for your plants.

We typically use chunky, organic material that is blended into the soil, to help create air pockets and voids in the existing soils. A healthy planting bed’s soil can be up to 50% air! Often, new construction can lead to 80-90% compaction rate of soils. Without changing these conditions, unlimited care of plants will still lead to struggling plants and death in those poor conditions.

Soil work for small or large beds is our forte, and we would be happy to help prepare your gardens for success! Give us a call! 614.873.7333

Thanks for Reading, Joel

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