Great soil makes great gardens and lawns. Rich soil that has good drainage and consistent moisture results in healthy lawns and plants. Gardens or lawns that quickly dry out most likely have soil problems. Even the healthiest plants and sod won’t flourish without good soil. All plants depend on it for their water, nutrients, and oxygen. Soil is composed of 50% solids; sand, silt, clay, and organic matter, and 25% water, and 25% air.
A quick test to determine how good your soil it to take a handful of it, compress it into a ball in your hand, and then flick it with your finger. If it has a good texture it will shatter or flake off easily. It should smell slightly sweet. A new planting bed should have 18 inches of good soil. If you are laying sod in your lawn a layer of good soil should be used generously under the new sod. A rule of thumb is 4-6 inches. If you purchase soil, you want to see dark material with a consistent texture that doesn’t have rocks, wood chips, or large clumps of plant debris. You may want to amend it with coarse sand and or composted manure to improve the drainage. The composted manure will also add fertility to your soil. Coarse or sandy soil is soil that drains quickly, doesn’t hold water and is low in nutrients, especially nitrogen and potassium. Clay or fine soil is heavy soil with a high nutrient and water holding characteristics but very poor drainage. It is also the most difficult to manage.
If you need help evaluating your soil, call the MN Landscape Designers at Architectural Landscape Design. As part of your landscape plan they can evaluate your soil and determine what amendments are necessary for it to be healthy and the base for the best garden or lawn. The secret is in the soil, if you have good moisture retaining soil it will maximize the moisture content. Their assessment and amendments can save you time and money as you won’t have to spend as much time watering or money on water. Plus it will help if your community comes up with watering restrictions.
Contact Architectural Landscape Design serving Minneapolis and St. Paul and surrounding communities at 952-292-7712 today to get your soil assessment and start on your landscape plan!