Have you ever considered what would be a more valuable resource, soil or water? It’s a bit of the chicken or the egg scenario. If asked, most people would say that water is more important and then look at you like you’re from another planet for asking such a foolish question. That is because we always hear of the very public and important proclamation of water management issues such as contamination or restrictions due to pollutants, overuse and/or drought. There is no arguing that we need to pay close attention to our water usage and that we all need water to survive.
But where would we be without healthy soil? Soil produces food, grows plants that filter the water we drink, cultivates plants that provides us oxygen and soil helps to sustain the plants that cool the earth by growing trees, woody shrubs and herbaceous plants and even turf grass. The air we breathe and the water we drink are directly related to the soil under or feet, yet our soil is relentlessly bombarded by synthetic applications of pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers to lawns, gardens and farm land, effectively killing off or severely damaging the fragile ecosystem in the top eight to twelve inches of soil all over the earth.
To boost soil health, first you will have to feed the soil through the incorporation of organic matter. In turn, the microorganisms will then do the heavy lifting to provide the plants with the necessary nutrients they need to build natural defenses. The conventional approach with synthetic product applications, on the contrary, bypasses a plant’s natural defense systems and ultimately weakens plants, leaving them susceptible to opportunistic pest and disease problems.
Organic matter can be incorporated in many ways all to the benefit of biodiversity of soil biology. Some examples of organic matter are well-aged compost, humates – humic or fulvic acids as well as humus and manures. All types of organic matter may be added in various forms such as liquid, granular or in the case of compost or manures in bulk quantities. When it comes to improving your soil this may be one instance where a little knowledge and understanding will go a long way in improving your soil health and your landscapes health. I encourage you to look deeper into the idea of soil health. There is an overwhelming amount of information and science to support this idea of fostering soil health.
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Written by Richard A. McCoy
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