When you want a lawn and garden that look amazing it starts with the basics. Soil quality really matters in the health and look of both your lawn and garden. If you’re working hard on your lawn and noticing that it’s still looking a little lackluster it might be time to consider working on the soil quality in addition to everything else you’re doing. Improving the quality of your soil sounds like something lawn care professionals should be doing, but it’s something you can definitely do yourself too. While you always have the option to call in lawn care pros you can also take tips from the pros and use them to try things on your own. You’ll likely be surprised at everything you’re able to accomplish.
If you’re wondering what you can do to improve the quality of your soil you should stick around. Reading about some tips that have been tested and are proven to work will make improving your lawn’s soil all the more interesting. With that in mind, here are five ways you can improve the soil in your lawn or garden.
1. Know Your Soil Type
You can learn about what type of soil you have a few different ways but one of the easiest ways is just to use a jar and some water. You can use a few different jars if you want to test more than one area of your garden or lawn too. Fill a one-quart jar about a third of the way with your soil sample, then add enough water to almost completely fill the jar. Once you have your water and soil in the jar and the lit is screwed back on you’re ready to go to the next step. Shake the jar to mix the water and the soil together. Give the jar about 2 or 3 minutes and look at what’s settled near the bottom. That should be a layer of sand that’s been separated out of the soil. Mark that on the side of the jar.
Leave your jar sitting still for about 2-3 hours and then come back to mark it again. Your next layer is the silt layer. Finally, leave the jar to sit overnight and come back one more time. You’ll be able to see the topsoil layer and any organic matter leftover. If there’s an excessive amount of one of the layers that’s the type of soil you want to look for tips on. Use the jar to figure out if you sandy soil, soil that’s more silt based, or if you have a good balance of all three. This information will help you figure out what you need to work on. There are great tips out there for how to improve the health of silty or sandy soil, and what will work best for your situation. Most of them come from lawn care business professionals themselves.
2. Use Organic Matter
Organic matter will help increase the quality of your soil by helping to improve the structure of the soil itself. You can use anything from leaf-based mulch to garden-made compost depending on your preferences. For the best results, you can start adding organic matter at the end of the growing season. It’s going to take some time to really see results but don’t let that discourage you. Organic matter will be worked into the soil naturally by things like worms that will be able to help spread things to the lower layers of soil that need a better structure. You can also work some of the organic matter into the ground yourself after it’s been left to sit on the garden of lawn areas for the winter.
3. Test Your Soil’s pH Level
The pH level of your soil will tell you if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline. Most of the time you want a good balance. If you have soil that is too far one way or the other it will change what you can grow in your garden or even the type of grasses that work in your lawn. You’ll either have to work to adjust the pH level over time or plant things that will work in your soil type. The pH balance of the soil could be a huge part of why your lawn isn’t looking as amazing as you’d hoped it would even after putting in some hard work. It’s possible your lawn’s soil just isn’t as hospitable to the type of plants and grass you have right now. Once you figure out if there’s an imbalance in your soil you can decide if you want to replant or work to change the pH level.
4. Use Seaweed Powder
This might sound weird but it actually works really well as part of an overall plan for the type of fertilizer you’re going to use in your lawn or garden. You can’t use only seaweed powder but adding seaweed powder to the fertilizer you’re already planning to use will make a huge difference. Seaweed has a lot of natural properties that encourage better growth in plants and lawns. It will help build your soil’s quality by giving those nutrients to your plants and ensuring your lawn remains rich in those nutrients as long as you use it.
You can even by liquid forms of seaweed to give the plants you already have the immediate benefits that would take time to build with powdered forms of seaweed.
5. Create Permanent Pathways
One thing you can do that will have pretty immediate results is to create paths in your lawn where it’s okay to walk and make sure they’re used. Walking on the soil you want to plant things i is never a good idea. It packs things down and makes the lower layers of soil too tough to grow anything in. Look at your lawn and plan out where you want to walk and where you want to leave grass or plants alone to grow. Make sure your pathways make sense and lead up to essential areas like your front door or the shed in your backyard. Don’t leave anything to the imagination when you’re creating permanent pathways or they won’t serve their purpose. If it’s clear where someone should be walking they won’t wander off onto your lawn anymore.
Improving the soil quality in your lawn or garden isn’t always the most exciting task but it really does make a huge difference. It might take some time to really see results that show you’re doing anything at all but even the slightest changes are doing good things whether you see it right away or not. Use what you’ve read here to make some good changes and stick to it. The more consistent you are the better your soil quality will become over time. Remember that lawn care and gardening are always going to require work you can’t see the effects of right away. As you know, it’s always well worth it in the end.