Soil Improvement

Mulches Reduce Weeds and Improve Plant Growth

One of the best ways to reduce weeding is to apply mulch around trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The most popular mulch material is bark. Bark is available in three different size chunks and finer sizes called bark dust. Bark can be purchased in bags but is much cheaper in bulk. If you do [...]

Choosing Fertilizers

The best time to fertilize most permanent plants is March and April. Lawns also need a late summer or fall application.  I also fertilize anytime I plant new plants. Although there are many specialized fertilizers available, I use two types for almost all my outdoor plants. I use lawn fertilizer for my lawn, trees, and shrubs, and [...]

Simplify Fertilization

Garden stores and departments offer numerous brands and types of fertilizers. Gardeners have been trained to think that each type of plant needs its own fertilizer. Since our soils contain a significant amount of phosphorus and potassium, I have found that lawn fertilizers, which are high in nitrogen, work very well for most trees, shrubs [...]

Soil Amendments

Many different organic amendments can be added to any soil. These include manure, sawdust, barkdust, leaves, grass clippings, weeds, straw and peat moss.  Partially decayed organic materials are often referred to as humus. Compost is usually a mixture of two or more materials which have been partially decayed. Organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, weeds and [...]

Soil pH

PH is the relative acidity or alkalinity of the soil. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. 0 is the most acid and 14 the strongest alkaline. 7 is neutral (neither acid nor akaline). Most plants grow best in a slightly acid pH range of 6 to 7. A few prefer a pH in the more acid [...]