Soil is more than dirt
February 8th, 2021
If you’re building a house, you need a solid foundation. The same goes for building a landscape. Soil serves as the foundation, so it pays to focus on creating a quality foundation if you want a healthy landscape.
Soils serve many functions* in your landscape:
- Soils act like sponges, soaking up rainwater and limiting runoff.
- Soils act like faucets, storing and releasing water and air for plants and animals to use.
- Soils act like supermarkets, providing valuable nutrients and air and water to plants and animals. Soils also store carbon and prevent its loss into the atmosphere.
- Soils act like strainers or filters, filtering and purifying water and air that flow through them. They buffer, degrade, immobilize, detoxify, and trap pollutants, such as oil, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals, and keep them from entering ground-water supplies.
- Soils act like a pantry, storing nutrients for future use by plants and animals above ground and by microbes within the soils.
Much of Colorado’s soil is heavy clay and can be alkaline, which can be challenging for the plants we love. Our soil may need some help in order to help our urban landscapes thrive. You can’t change the temperature, wind, or dry air we see in our state, but you can amend the soil to make it more hospitable to plant life.
Now is the time to think about how you can amend your soil so that it is ready to support your landscape this spring. The Soil, Water and Plant Testing Laboratory at Colorado State University can perform a soil test to help you determine what needs to be done to improve soil health in your landscape. You can pick up a test kit at a local hardware store and mail your sample for analysis.
Call our office to learn about the best amendments for your particular soil type.