Lawn care and gardening are two of the best hobbies that can help keep stress at bay. They also play a critical role in making neighborhoods look greener and the planet healthier. Plus, most of the tasks are simple and worth the effort, especially if your garden yields fruits, vegetables, and other edible and nourishing foods for your health.
To get the most out of these benefits in mind, you should take gardening and lawn care in Glencoe, Missouri more seriously. Fortunately, science can help you ensure a fruitful harvest and a healthier turf.
One specific study that could help you in your gardening endeavors is soil science.
In this article, you will learn about the main characteristics of soil and its composition when used in lawn care and gardening.
3 Main Characteristics of Soil
To understand how soil science benefits your garden, you must first know the basics. Since this study is all about soil, it discusses three characteristics that distinguish different soil types:
The soil structure describes the ratio of particles that make up the soil, mainly its sand, silt, and clay content. The size and amount of these particles present in soil affect its physical attributes, including its drainage, porosity, and compaction.
Sand is responsible for the drainage of a soil mix. Silt allows the soil to clump together or create aggregates. Meanwhile, clay is the by-product of chemical action after acids and water wear down minerals in the soil.
Color is an indicator of the minerals and materials the soil contains and where and how it developed.
For example, soil from places with colder and wetter climates often have a browner or greyer color. This hue comes from the organic matter that hasn’t decomposed.
On the other hand, soil in hotter and drier climates typically have iron and oxidized minerals because organic matter decomposes much quicker under these conditions. This explains the bright colors that soil in these places has.
Besides color and structure, the pH – short for “potential hydrogen” – of the soil is another characteristic that affects its viability in supporting plant life. Soil pH is primarily affected by its chemistry more than its anatomy.
For most plants that produce food, the ideal pH level is neutral (not too alkaline and not too acidic) at around 7.0 pH – the same as that of distilled water.
Plants require neutral soil as it affects the availability of nutrients in it. Moreover, extremes in pH level support toxic elements in the soil, making it less viable for plant life.
Like people, different plants also thrive better in specific environments, which includes the soil. This is why experts in landscaping in Chesterfield, Missouri use various soil mixes, depending on the plants they use in their line of work.
Besides clay, sand, and silt, there are other things that plant aficionados and landscape experts use to ensure healthy plant life. Some of these are:
Decomposed organic materials that add nutrients to the soil mix comprise compost. It has a natural neutral pH and retains moisture along with nutrients that help plants grow healthier.
Ideally, those used in planting mixes should be free of bulky materials such as chunks of wood chips, bark, etc. For this reason, compost should be sifted thoroughly before being added to the soil mixture.
Coco coir is produced from the fibers found outside the coconut husk. Its pH level is between 5.2 and 6.8 and helps hold water while allowing good drainage when mixed into the soil. If combined with sphagnum peat moss, coconut coir is perfect as a potting soil base.
Made from naturally occurring volcanic glass, perlite is a material that turns into white, round-shaped particles after heat exposure. This is normally used in potting soil to support air movement and break up the soil. It also retains moisture but not as well as vermiculite does.
Another naturally occurring ingredient in garden potting mixes is vermiculite. Like perlite, it expands and changes form when heated up. However, it has better water-retaining capabilities, making it perfect for growing new plants.
It also has some degree of aeration support, but not as much as perlite. It also comes in a variety of sizes that can be used for different purposes, though small and medium-sized ones are ideal for potting soil mixes.
Sphagnum peat moss
Also called “peat moss,” sphagnum peat moss is a byproduct of bogs. It is acidic by nature and holds moisture well while breaking apart other ingredients in soil mixes.
It’s All in the Soil
When it comes to the growing environment of turfgrass and other plants, the first and foremost consideration should be the soil. From its characteristics to the different particles it contains, choosing the right soil mix for your lawn and garden is vital in ensuring foliage health.