Healthy soil plays a crucial role in fostering the growth of thriving plants and trees. While it may seem like a straightforward concept, the definition of "healthy soil" is worth exploring in depth. Nature often provides us with answers, and when we examine undisturbed forest soils, we find a blueprint for the ideal soil conditions:
1. Texture and Organic Matter: Healthy soil in forest environments typically boasts a soft texture and contains a significant amount of organic matter.
2. Nutrient-Rich: It is rich in essential nutrients, including both macro and micronutrients, with an ideal pH ranging from approximately 5.5 to 6.5.
3. Microbial Activity: Healthy forest soils are teeming with beneficial microbes and fungi, contributing to a thriving ecosystem.
However, in urban and suburban settings, trees often face soil deficits for several reasons:
1. Limited Soil Volume: Urban landscapes typically offer restricted soil volumes due to roads, homes, sidewalks, and other obstructions. In contrast, tree roots naturally expand two to three times wider than the canopy.
2. Topsoil Scarcity: Many urban and suburban sites lack adequate topsoil, which is the nutrient dense layer of soil just below the organic layer. Instead of the tree’s preferred native soil, our urban tree roots often must navigate heavy clay soils.
3. Nutrient Depletion: Common landscape maintenance activities such as leaf raking and bagging grass clippings can strip significant amounts of nutrients from the soil each season.
4. Root Competition: Trees are generally compatible with other trees, but they face tough competition from aggressive ground covers like turf grasses when sharing soil space.
So, how do we address these challenges? We steer away from generic, one-size-fits-all fertilizers, as most are designed for turf grass and may not meet the specific needs of trees. Our soil care program takes a more tailored approach and involves recurring services, designed to feed the tree year-round. Here's what you can expect from our program:
1. Customized Nutrient Applications: We provide nutrients specifically formulated for the tree species we work on. The program is adjusted based on a soil nutrient analysis collected during our initial visit.
2. pH Adjustments: If necessary, we stabilize soil pH within the appropriate range for the target tree species.
3. Phosphites: These are applied to induce disease resistance within the plant if root rot or other diseases are suspected.
4. Targeted Micronutrients: We correct deficiencies that often limit tree health by applying micronutrients tailored to the specific requirements of your trees.
5. Soil Improvement: We may recommend root collar excavations, mulch application, and decompaction of the soil to enhance its structure.
Here's a breakdown of what to expect:
1. Initial Visit: During our first visit, we apply basic levels of macro and micro-nutrients and collect a soil sample for nutrient analysis. If root rot is suspected, we may also include phosphites.
2. Subsequent Visits: Approximately every six months, we revisit your property with prescription nutrient blends based on your soil analysis. We continue to address pH concerns and collaborate with you on drainage, mulching, and other pertinent issues.
We are committed to ensuring that your trees receive the specific care and nutrients they require to thrive in their unique environment.