Gardening Help

Healthy plants are no accident

   The basic growth of plants depends on the soil for water and nutrient elements. Beyond this, soil must provide an environment in which roots can function. This requires pore spaces for root extension and oxygen must be available for root respiration, adding soil amendments like leave mulch, small bark chips and peat moss opens soil air space up for healthy growth. Carbon dioxide produced must diffuse out of soil. At least 16 elements are necessary for plant growth. The Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen combined in the photosynthetic relations are obtained from air and water.
The remaining 13 elements are obtained from the soil:
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium Sulfur, Manganese, Iron, Boron, Zinc, Copper, Molybdenum, & Chorine.
   We provide testing and analysis of elements in the soil so our customers have the knowledge of meeting their plants needs by amending what is needed to ensure happy healthy plants.

Taking a soil sample for testing is a simple matter.

   Take approximately 1 to 2 cups of soil from 3 to 5 different places in the sample area, about 6 to 12 inches deep with a small shovel or trowel. Mix soil throughly in plastic bag to get average conditions of the area around plant material or desired area.

   Caution: Never use any tool or container that has fertilizer residue and exclude soil from the surface inch or so. Mark the sample bag to identify what area the sample came from and bring the sample to us. Results may take 3 to 5 days to process.

Water Wisdom

   Proper watering is the single most important maintenance factor in the care of new plantings. Water both the root ball (right around the trunk) and surrounding area. Avoid frequent light watering, instead water deeply and slowly let the water soak in, this encourages the growth of deep roots which anchor stock well, making the tree more drought tolerant because of a bigger and stronger root system. Water at longer intervals possibly every two to three days allowing air to move back into soil. Too much water can fill up soil air pores suffocating the plant, roots need air as well as water. On new plantings, trees and shrubs draw most of it’s moisture from the root ball which can dry out in only a day or two depending on weather conditions even while surrounding soil remains moist. Check soil moisture by physical inspection. Account for rain fall, hold back from watering for 2 to 3 days after a 1″ soaking rain.
   Spreading mulch such as shredded bark or leaves helps insulate soil against extremes of temperature fluctuations and holds in soil moisture. Apply no more than 3 to 4 inches deep in a circle around trees and shrubs. Avoid touching the trunk around plants.
   Sandy dry soils may need more water. On hot sunny and windy days, plants can dry out withing 1/2 day. Check soil root ball. When planting, check the soil conditions at the middle and bottom of planting hole. Very sandy soils may require soil amendments like peat moss, topsoil or leaf mulch mixed in, to increase the water holding capacity of soil for plant roots to uptake.
   Heavy clay soil will not allow for water drainage, drowning or suffocating the plant roots from lack of air. With a post hole digger break through the clay at the bottom of hole 2ft to 4ft down until reaching better soil conditions. Fill this hole with gravel, rock or sand to give the water an exit to run off and not build up inside the hole. To improve the structure and drainage of clay soil mix sand, pine bark chips peatmoss and/or topsoil into existing soil.
   Trees and shrubs especially evergreens and newly planted stock need ample water in their root systems as they go into winter so continue to water as long as you can.

Thank you, Happy Gardening.

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