The key to maintaining a healthy, beautiful garden or flowerbed is proper preparation of soil. Fertilizer, plant food and water are most successful when applied to a healthy garden bed. With very little effort, soil can be improved so your flowers, trees and shrubs will become established quickly, and grow stronger and healthier.
The key in the spring is to know the right time to “work” or amend your soil. To determine if your soil is ready, grab a handful and squeeze it. If the soil retains a ball-like shape, the soil is too wet to work. If it crumbles, it is ready to be tilled.
Enhancing the soil offers several benefits:
- Improving the porosity allows more water and nutrients into the root zone
- Reduces runoff compared to hard, crusty soil
- More oxygen becomes available to the plant roots
- Adapting the soil can provide nutrients to help plants with special needs, such as acid-loving evergreens and azaleas, thrive
- Roots are encouraged to spread out and develop into a sturdy underground network to take in vital nutrients and moisture
If you still prefer to create your own recipe, some companies offers a complete selection of landscape soils and soil conditioners, such as organic humus, manures and peat moss.
To prepare the soil for planting trees and shrubs, you can:
1. Spread the materials over the planting bed and till them into the soil, or
2. Mix the conditioners with the soil previously removed from the planting holes before replacing it around the plant roots.
Both methods can turn almost any soil into a planting area in which your trees, shrubs and ornamentals will thrive.