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Tips on your soil

April 11, 2018

Learning About Soil Types

The size and proportion of clay, sand, or silt particles present in your garden soil influence its chemical and physical nature. 

 

They make it either heavy (wet and poorly drained), or light (dry and free-draining), and thus determine what plants will thrive on it.

 

It's pH value, a measure of acidity or alkalinity is measured on a scale of 1 to 14. 

 

Below neutral (7), soils are progressively acid; above neutral, they are progressively alkaline (limy). You can determine what type of soil you have by looking at the color, feeling the texture, and observing what kind of plants will grow on it or, if you prefer, by doing a soil test. You can always contact your local UW-extension to have them help you get your soil tested.

 

Silty soil is considered one of the gold standard in soils. This is a very fertile soil that has irregular shape and small size of its soil particles allows for good aeration. At the same time, it can hold on to water like clay soil but drains better than sandy soil. It can also store plant nutrients better than clay because of its compact-able nature. Silty soil is often a native to river valleys. Because silt is almost as fine as clay, its soil particles could get densely and tightly packed if mishandled. Minimize walking on garden beds to prevent compacting the soil. Make sure you turn over several inches of the top layer of the soil every so often to keep the soil crumbly and easily manipulated.

 

 

Loamy soils are considered by most gardened to be the ideal soil. It has a mixture of clay, sand, silt and even some humus that makes this soil avoid the extremes of clay or sandy soils. This soil drains well, can be easily worked and definitely fertile. Although there can be clay-loam or sandy-loam depending on their predominant composition and cultivation. The pH level of loamy soil is 6 with high calcium levels and can retain nutrients and water. Add a bit of compost or any organic matter, especially if you're digging or cultivating this soil every year. 

 

If you are wondering what plants go well in your soil, talk to us at Story Landscaping!  We are here to help with all your landscaping needs. 

 

 

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