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Soil Amendation

Soil image

The natural, organic approach to plant and tree health is the foundational premise through all my previous articles. The foundation of excellent plant or tree health is the topsoil the plant grows in. Texas Hill Country soil typically does not have a very deep topsoil, but what topsoil there is of good quality. Unfortunately, due to construction activities, most of this topsoil is graded away and rarely put back during landscaping. Further, a cheaper and inferior quality soil is often used.

Not only that, most lawn maintenance practices include removal of much of the organic litter (grass clippings, leaves, sticks, etc.) that play a crucial role in the build-up of topsoil and natural fertilizing of the plants.

Best management practices include: mulching mowers, composting of excessive (will vary by property) leaves and grass clipping, maintain retention walls or install them as needed for erosion control, and add topsoil turf dressing.

Topsoil turf dressing is a mixture of primarily sandy loam soil and compost. There are varying qualities of turf dressing: my professional opinion is that the key ingredient is the compost and that a horse manure base is better than cow or chicken manure and the human waste bio solid is the last choice on my list. Unfortunately, no bulk topsoil turf dressing includes either greensand or vulcanite, but I strongly encourage including these in your yearly application for optimum results as they contain many of the most essential micronutrients your plants need.

A quarter inch is the standard depth of application but up to a half an inch in low spots for lawn leveling purposes is possible without smothering the turf.

My hope is that these cultural practices will enable you to completely eliminate the use of synthetic weed and feed approaches to plant health, which significantly damage the natural cycle of plant and soil health.

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