Friday, November 21, 2014
Got Compost: Drought Conditions Call for Healthy Soil!: With persisting drought conditions and water shortages here in California, drought-tolerant landscaping is definitely the way to go. ...
landscaping is definitely the way to go. While planting drought-resistant plants and water conservation are important factors, truly drought-tolerant landscapes begin with the soil.
For plants, grass and trees to be able to thrive in drought conditions, they require nutrient-rich soil that is properly aerated and able to disperse water efficiently. To prepare soil for a water-wise landscape, you should first till and loosen soil roughly a foot deep. Highly compacted soil makes it difficult for roots to spread. It also makes it harder for water to penetrate the soil adequately before it evaporates. Important to keep in mind is the fact that healthy soil is as important to landscapes comprised of rocks and cacti as it is to those with lawns, shrubs and flower beds.Once the ground has been loosened the addition of compost, rich in organic matter, will provide the nutrients your plants need to grow healthy and lush even in tough conditions. Soil straight from your backyard just won’t do the job, neither will just any compost off the shelf of your local garden supply center. All compost is not created equal. As a result of the variety of organic materials that go into the compost feedstock, there can be a wide variability in the characteristics and quality of compost products. As a result, you may ask, “How do I buy compost that meets my landscaping needs?”
One answer is to purchase only compost that complies with the terms and conditions of the USCC’s Seal of Testing Assurance [STA] Program. This will provide you with the information that you need in order to make an informed buying decision
Ideally, you should prepare your soil and complete your planting before the hottest and driest parts of the year. If your plants have time to develop a healthy and deep root base before the hottest and driest parts of the summer, they will be stronger and better able to withstand drought conditions.After you have prepared your soil and completed your planting, you should then cover the ground with a thick carpet of mulch. Not only will mulch reduce the number of weeds that will use up water and nutrients, it will prevent the water from evaporating at ground level before it has time to penetrate the soil.
Because almost all drought tolerant plants have a vast, far-reaching taproot that seeks water out deep below the soil’s surface, well-amended soil is a must when planting a drought-tolerant garden. Compost must be added to native soil if drought-tolerant plants are to survive. Even if you are planting a sloped area, adding 1 or 2 inches of compost to native soil is imperative; water must soak deep into the soil where, in times of drought, plants’ taproot systems can have access. Adding Harvest Blend Compost to your native soil will greatly improve the texture, aeration and draining capacity, so this should be your first priority when planting a water-wise garden. Naturally!
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