Healthy living soil is the key to your success in landscaping or gardening.Your soil is not just media holding up your plants into which chemicals are added.A properly managed soil is a healthy living system that will feed your plants while discouraging and destroying pests.Follow these simple steps to begin the process of restoring and improving the beneficial life to your soil. It's Easy!
1.Have your soil tested by a reputable lab that does a complete soil analysis. You wouldn’t allow the dentist to start drilling your teeth before taking an x-ray. The same principle applies to fertilization.Don’t add anything to your soil until you know what is there and what is missing.Adding too much of one thing could cause problems, deficiencies, or toxicities with something else.Only add what you know you need.We take soil from surface level to about three inches deep in 10-12 spots around your landscape to make up a good composite.Then, our lab provides a complete analysis with over 20 points of reference.From this, we can make accurate recommendations for correcting the soil in order to give you a healthy landscape requiring less time and money. 2.Balance your soil according to the recommendations from the soil test.Now you can safely add the nutrients and amendments that will correct deficiencies and repair the biological and physical structure of your soil.It can take months to change the soil chemistry so it is important that you get started right away. 3.Stop using artificial pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.These products will destroy beneficial soil microorganisms and earthworms.While they may bring temporary relief, they guarantee you will have to keep using them and create an environment ripe for other attacks.Don’t apply anything to your soil that does not encourage life. We recommend TurfPro and Cedar Oil Industries products.
4.Aerate soil.Increase the air in the soil with organic conditioners or mechanical methods if needed.Healthy soils need oxygen and that includes the soil microorganisms. It is usually a waste of money to use mechanicl aeration in Florida's sandy soils. 5.Build soil organic content.Florida’s sandy soil is almost always to low in organic matter.Use compost to prepare beds and gardens, and to stimulate lawns.Stimulation of microbiotic activity in the soil is the most important way of building soil organic matter. Our own Compost Tea+ and TurfPro's humate products are your best choices for building soil organic matter and beneficial soil microbes. 6.Add mulch to all bare ground.Natural mulch preserves moisture, helps to eliminate weeds, and keeps the soil surface cooler which benefits earthworms, microorganisms, and plant roots.Cover bare ground under trees and shrubs and in vegetable and flower gardens with 1” of compost and 3” of shredded tree trimmings or bark mulch. Now that your soil is on the road to recovery follow these simple guidelines to keep your landscape healthy and beautiful
1. Plant only adapted species.Always plant varieties that do well in your specific environment.Plant annuals and vegetables in the proper season and, if you plant them, be prepared to loose tropicals (including citrus) in the winter.
2. Watering. Irrigate your lawn and landscape deeply and infrequently to encourage deep roots.A weekly application of .75”-1” is sufficient in the winter. In the summer time you may need two applications per week.Shallow frequent watering results in shallow root systems that are susceptible to drought and pests.
3. Foliar Spraying. Spray fruit trees, lawns, shrubs, lawn and gardens during periods of stress with Compost Tea+, TurfPro, and Cedar Oil.This encourages healthy growth and reduces pests.
4. Encourage biodiversity. Introduce beneficial insects and protect those that exist.Plant herbs that attract these insects. Install bat and purple marlin houses.Use only organic fertilizers.
5. Mowing.Lawns are frequently mowed to low.Keep your St. Augustine lawn 3-4 inches tall.This will give you a strong healthy root system that is resistant to drought, heat, and freezing.Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass height in one mowing.Let the grass clippings and mowed leaves remain on the lawn.They are a great source of nutrients and will add to the soil structure.Always use sharp blades for a clean neat cut that does not damage grass.
6. Pruning.Just like in your lawn, you should never remove more than 1/3 of the plant anytime you prune.Anything more will cause stress and make the plant susceptible to pests and temperature extremes.Prune Azaleas right after flowering.Later pruning will remove next years bloom.Do not perform Crape murder on your Crape Myrtles!Yearly pruning will encourage more blooms but sever pruning weakens the tree.Stick to the 1/3 rule on all your pruning.