Improving Prescott AZ area soils is critical to the health of your garden unless you are only using well adapted native plants. In our prior post, we talked a bit about soil and how its texture and structure supports plant growth. With this knowledge in hand, you can positively impact how the plants in your garden grow and produce fruits, whether flowers, fruit or vegetables.
If you wish a greater diversity of plants beyond plants native to your area there are distinct actions you can take to improve the health of your soil include:
- Maintain the aeration of soil
- Create pathways in high traffic areas to avoid soil compaction
- Use drip irrigation rather than filling plant basins with gallons of water at a time. Water weight more than 8 pounds per gallon and will compact the soil if too much is added at once.
- Till or work the soil to loosen compacted areas
- Incorporate amendments to improve the soil
- Improve fertility
- Correct for alkalinity so that plants can better use the nutrients already within the soil. The addition of organic matter, elemental sulfur, and liquid acidifier moves the soil pH toward neutral.
- Add organic materials to the soil:
- Well rotted manure: use it sparingly as it is high in salts
- Plant legumes to fix nitrogen in the soil for future annual planting
- Use the right fertilizers at the right time in the right form
- Notice how water percolates into your soil, then:
- Amend with organic material and course sand, small cinders or gravel to improve heavy clay soils
- Add organic matter to help hold moisture in sandy soils which drain too quickly
- Break up caliche or create “chimneys” which penetrate through caliche layers to allow adequate water drainage
- Add soil or use raised beds if the topsoil layer is too shallow for good root growth or drainage is poor
- Feed the diverse microbial communities in the soil. Microorganisms and organic mater help to protect soil structure and keep it in clumps or “aggregates” which allow air and water to move through it more easily.
- For annuals use nitrogen rich amendments and mulches
- For perennials, trees and shrubs use carbon rich amendments and mulches
- Select soils best for your intended use: recognize the difference between potting soil vs planting mix
Contact us learn more about improving Prescott AZ area soils.