Although it may seem like some people just have green thumbs that let them create flourishing lawns and gardens, this superstition couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, your lawn’s health is entirely dependent on the quality of the soil beneath.
Just like your home needs a good foundation, your grass, veggie gardens and decorative plants must have good earth if they’re to grow strong. Here are a few tips on demystifying your quest for healthier home landscaping by creating better soil.
The Fertilizer Misconception
Many homeowners labor under the mistaken impression that they can simply dump fertilizer on the ground every season and sit back while their plants take it all in. While this approach is well intentioned, it’s sorely misguided.
Fertilizers work by providing plants with vital nutrients, but you can definitely overfeed your lawn. Although your grass won’t start to pack on pounds like a person might if they ate more and more each week, the high concentration of harsh chemicals in the soil could eventually harm root systems, weaken above-ground growths or even destroy your whole lawn. Over-applying fertilizer can also change the pH of your soil and kill essential composting insects, like earthworms and woodlice.
It’s Not All the Same Dirt
Remember that not all soil is the same. Different compositional elements, such as clay, sand, mineral salts and organic matter, combine to create varied soil mixtures with a diverse range of characteristics. Like different species of plants and animals, soil mixtures are scientifically classified and named based on their distinct features, and different garden plants and lawn grasses thrive better in certain soils.
Some soils, for instance, clump together too much for the root systems of certain grass species to penetrate. Others are loose enough to promote the initial stages of plant growth but not to allow for adequate drainage later on. While certain exotics won’t thrive in Texan soils without a substantial amount of human interference, most plants can easily adapt to the area around your home as long as you do a little bit of maintenance here and there.
Reengineering Your Soil for the Better
Your soil makes up its own self-contained ecosystem where plants turn sunlight and water into sugars that feed insects and other critters. These species then return the nutrients to the ground as compost that promotes new growth. Everything in this cycle depends on the soil that allows the plants to thrive.
Although people like using insecticides and fungicides to preemptively halt infestations, such practices can create drastic imbalances in the natural cycle by reducing insect populations. In addition to the problems you already learned about, adding lots of chemicals can increase the amount of thatch beneath your green grass, preventing good root growth and making your lawn more susceptible to periodic Texan dry spells.
So how can you make your soil as healthy as possible without going overboard? The simplest solutions may be the best. By following a healthy watering, mowing and core aeration regimen, you’ll help de-stress your soil and provide a healthy growth environment that works because of natural cycles. At ABC Home & Commercial Services in Dallas, our lawn care experts are ready to help you learn more about keeping your lawn healthy by starting with the soil.