Healthy soil means a healthy ecosystem where insects and plants will thrive. More often than not, unhealthy soil means the opposite. If your plants have been facing difficulties growing, it’s time to take action. In this blog, we discuss some of the common signs of unhealthy soil and what you can do to enhance it.
Signs Of Unhealthy Soil
Unhealthy soil isn’t good for anything; whether you want a lush garden filled with flowers , an allotment full of vegetables and fruits or a garden which attracts a wide array of wildlife, you will need healthy soil.
There are many signs of unhealthy soil such as plants failing to grow, compact soil, lack of moisture, or even a garden that sounds just a little too quiet.
Plants aren’t growing
A clear indication of poor soil is your plants refusing to grow or having stunted growth. This can be seen from wilting or yellow leaves sooner than expected or never even growing in the first place.
Lack of moisture and nutrients
If you are experiencing delayed plant growth, a lack of moisture and nutrients in the soil is often the reason and will often result in wilting or yellow leaves. When your soil lacks moisture and nutrients, it will often become crumbly and increasingly difficult to grow any form of life.
Soil is compact
Using machinery on your soil (or even walking over it often) can turn the ground into a very compact surface. This makes it difficult for plant growth as roots cannot penetrate the soil and absorb nutrients and oxygen. A lack of air space in the soil will also lead to poor drainage and waterlogging; damaging plant roots in the process.
It’s too quiet
Nature is peaceful, but that doesn’t mean it’s silent. If you don’t hear any noise within your garden it will often mean it is inhabitable for insect life; whether it’s bees pollinating in the day or crickets mating at night. As a large ecosystem, insects play a large role in keeping the soil healthy; so if you notice a lack of noise, you will need to improve the quality of the soil.
How To Enrich Your Soil
Fortunately, there is an easy remedy for unhealthy soil. Simply add a soil improver, such as a rejuvenating compost, and the rest will take care of it for you. Using organic materials will enhance fertility, nutrients and water retention, and make it a place where plant life can thrive.
What is soil improver?
Soil improver is made from composted organic matter and is used to enhance the properties of the soil, slowing releasing nutrients, improving soil structure and moisture retention.
When is the best time to apply a soil improver?
Soil improver can be applied at any time of year. Most often it is applied during early spring and autumn before planting, as it allows the soil to absorb the nutrients it needs and improve its structure in time.
How to Use Soil Improver
What You'll Need
- Garden fork or spade
- Watering can or hose
Step 1: Dig over the soil
Thoroughly dig the soil and break up any lumps using a spade if it has never previously been dug, or a fork if it has previously been dug.
Step 2: Add soil improver
The amount of soil improver needed will depend on your soil type. For heavy clay soil we recommend a layer 80-100mm, chalky soil 50-80mm and light sandy soil 20-50mm thick. Add the soil improver to the surface of the tilled soil.
Step 3: Dig over the soil again
Once you have added the layer of soil improver, it should be forked in to a depth of approximately 200mm ensure it is incorporated throughout the soil. If adding the soil improver to a planted area, do not dig too close to existing plants or their roots.
Step 4: Remove stones and weeds
Using a rake, remove loose stones and weed seedlings from the soil to ensure the best environment for your plants, and create an even layer.
Step 5: Water the soil
Using a watering can or hose, gently water the soil.
Step 6: Add a layer of mulch
Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to help retain moisture, prevent weeds from growing, and feed the fungi in the soil. As it breaks down over time, it will release further nutrients into the soil. .
What to Avoid
When applying soil improver, there are a few things you should avoid:
- Don’t overdo the digging. Overworking the soil can destroy its structure and make it less hospitable to plant growth.
- Don’t apply too much soil improver. Adding too much can create an imbalance in the soil and result in poor plant growth.
- Don’t apply soil improver to frozen soil. Applying soil improver to frozen soil can result in poor absorption and can also harm the plants.
- Don’t apply to very wet or waterlogged soil as it can damage the soil structure.
The health of your soil is vital for a flourishing ecosystem, and once up and running, you can expect your plant life to thrive.
Get in touch with Envar today
If you have any questions about the best ways to improve your soil, we can help you. At Envar, we have over 30 years of experience in helping customers with composting, mulching, and soil improvement, offering advice and recommendations that work best for your situation.