The Soil Scoop

The Soil Scoop

Dirt Domicile

Making the soil in your beds and yard into a good home for plants is a good way to increase their chances for success. So preparing your soil prior to planting is a good idea. If you have plants currently experiencing difficulties or you would like to know specifically what to add or modify, your arborist can take a sample and test the soil for nutrient content, pH or contaminants.

One of the easiest and most beneficial amendments which will increase soil quality is the addition of well-rounded organic matter. Compost, fertilizer, kelp and lime are a few things that will change the nutrient constituents and pH of your soil depending on how much is added and when. Also keep an eye on the micro and macronutrient content on anything you add, plants’ nutrient requirements may be different in the spring versus the fall; you want to give your plants what they need most at the time so you can help your plants adjust to transplant stress and adapt to weather extremes. Products purchases at your local home and garden center should have a breakdown of nutrients included therein, consult with your arborist to assist with finding the right product with the adequate amounts micro and macronutrients for your needs.


Bags of fertilizer will indicate the percentages of nutrient content using the elemental letter and a number on the front of the bag.


Compost can be made by combining organic material left over from food preparation, such as egg shells, coffee grinds, vegetable trimmings and peels and landscape trimming. Do not include meat or dairy in your compost.

Compost Constituents

Compost can be a great, natural, organic amendment to your gardens which adds necessary nutrients to your soil through the natural decomposition process. Whether you are buying or making your own compost make sure that there is sufficient amounts of both “green” and “brown” materials, such as grass clippings and coffee grounds. Mature compost is a stable material called humus, it will be dark brown or black and have an earthy aroma. Compost is creating by combining organic wastes like yard trimmings, food waste and manure properly contained in appropriate ratios.

Nutrient content, oxygen flow, particle size, moisture content and temperature all need to be carefully monitored and controlled during the composting process. When compost is mature is will produce high temperatures that kill the pathogens and weeds while leaving a nutrient packed organic material providing many benefits for your landscape and the environment.