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October 10, 2023

What is Soil Care?

Healthy soil plays a pivotal role in supporting the growth of thriving plants and trees. While it might appear straightforward, it's worthwhile to delve deeper into the concept of "healthy soil." When we examine undisturbed forest soils, we discover a model for optimal soil conditions:

  1. Texture and Organic Content: In forest environments, healthy soil typically possesses a soft texture and contains a substantial amount of organic matter.
  2. Nutrient Enrichment: It is abundant in essential nutrients, encompassing both macro and micronutrients, with an optimal pH range typically between 5.5 and 6.5.
  3. Microbial Activity: Healthy forest soils teem with beneficial microbes and fungi, fostering a thriving ecosystem.

However, in urban and suburban settings, trees often confront soil challenges for several reasons:

  1. Restricted Soil Space: Urban landscapes often provide limited soil volumes due to roads, buildings, sidewalks, and other obstructions. In contrast, tree roots naturally extend two to three times wider than the canopy.
  2. Topsoil Insufficiency: Many urban and suburban sites lack adequate topsoil, the nutrient-rich layer just beneath the organic layer. Instead of the tree's preferred native soil, urban tree roots often encounter heavy clay soils.
  3. Nutrient Depletion: Common landscape maintenance practices, such as leaf removal and grass clippings collection, can deplete significant nutrients from the soil each season.
  4. Root Competition: While trees generally coexist with other trees, they face tough competition from aggressive ground covers like turf grasses when sharing soil space.

So, how do we tackle these challenges? We avoid generic, one-size-fits-all fertilizers, as they are typically designed for turf grass and may not meet the specific requirements of trees. Our soil care program adopts a tailored approach and involves recurring services designed to nourish the trees year-round. Here's what you can anticipate from our program:

  1. Tailored Nutrient Applications: We provide nutrients specifically formulated for the tree species we work on. The program is adjusted based on a soil nutrient analysis conducted during our initial assessment.
  2. pH Adjustment: If necessary, we stabilize soil pH within the appropriate range for the target tree species.
  3. Phosphites: These are applied to enhance disease resistance within the plant if root rot or other diseases are suspected.
  4. Targeted Micronutrients: We address deficiencies that often limit tree health by applying micronutrients tailored to your trees' specific requirements.
  5. Soil Enhancement: We may recommend root collar excavations, mulch application, and soil decompaction to improve its structure.

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what to expect with our soil care program:

  1. Initial Assessment: During our first visit, we apply foundational levels of macro and micro-nutrients and gather 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 custom nutrient blends based on your soil analysis. We continue to address pH concerns and collaborate with you on drainage, mulching, and other relevant matters.

Our commitment is to ensure that your trees receive the precise care and nutrients they need to flourish in their unique environment.