Prescott AZ Area Soils can be a challenge to the dedicated gardener who wishes to grow a wide variety of perennial and annual plants. Native plants tend to be well-adapted to our soils, other plants not so.
Soil is the top layer of the earth’s surface where plants grow. It is made up of minerals, varying sizes of rock particle (clay, silt and sand), decaying organic matter, air and water.
Soil is a living organism and, like us humans, needs air, water and food to thrive. It is teaming with microbes. Microscopic organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to break down organic materials and make them available to plant roots.
Think of soil as mother earth’s medium for plant growth! Soil serves to:
- Hold and maintain water and nutrients for plant uptake
- Provide structural support for plant roots
- Provide essential mineral macronutrients to plants such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium as well as a host of micronutrients
The composition of soil creates texture and structure which may facilitate plant growth or make it a challenge for area gardeners.
- Frequently our soil layers or “horizons” are shallow, if they exist at all. In many areas there is bedrock quite close to the surface.
- Clay, the smallest of soil particles, is common in many Prescott areas. It clumps so tightly together that it drains poorly and holds little oxygen or organic matter.
- It’s not uncommon to have caliche, an impermeable cement-like layer of soil held together with lime, just beneath our topsoil. It prevents movement of air and water through the soil.
- Our soils are alkaline in nature, making the nutrients and minerals therein unavailable for use by many non-native plants.
- There is little organic matter in our soil which helps to hold water and make it available for use by plants.
An understanding of these challenges will help area gardeners to create a plan of action to remedy them! Look for our next post for suggestions.
Contact us to learn more about Prescott AZ area soils.