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July 23, 2020

How Healthy Is Your Soil?

Your lawn is only as good as the soil that it is growing in, and low quality soil can lead to low quality turf. However, how can you tell if your commercial or residential landscape has good, healthy soil?

How to Determine if Your Soil Is Healthy

  1. Look at the Structure: Start by digging a hole 6-10 inches into the ground and separating some of the soil. Break it apart with your fingers and check to see if it is powdery, granular or clumpy. Healthy soil typically consists of differently sized crumbles that retain their shape when slight pressure is applied. If your soil clumps take a lot of pressure to break apart, your soil could be too dry.
  2. Compaction: For a quick way to see how compacted your soil is, place a wire into the soil at different places in your yard. Keep track of when the wire bends. Ideally, you should have about a foot of soil that can be penetrated easily.
  3. Earthworms: When your soil is moist but not wet, take a look to see if you can spot any earthworm burrows. In garden beds and areas that you need to have high-quality soil, dig approximately 6 inches below the surface and see how many earthworms are in that portion of soil. If you have 3-5 worms, that’s a good sign that your soil has plenty of nutrients.
  4. Test It: Complete soil testing to see the pH and other critical information about your soil. This is the most accurate way to get an idea of any corrective action you should take to have the best soil possible. In some cases, a simple addition of one type of organic matter to your soil could transform the health of your turf over the long term.
  5. Water Infiltration: Grab an empty coffee can and remove the bottom. Push it into the soil so that only three inches remain above ground. Fill it up with water and see how long it takes for all of the water to be absorbed. In general, if it takes more time than 1 hour to absorb ½ inch to 1 inch of water, your soil is too compact.

Landscaping and Maintenance from JFC Grounds Maintenance

Ready to take better care of your lawn and landscape? Need some help making your spring cleanup less stressful but want the benefits of a clean, tidy landscape? Give JFC Grounds Maintenance a call at (410) 655-2887.