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Our environment makes a huge difference in our health and general well being. If we eat good food and live in a clean environment, we will thrive. The same applies to your plants. If they are not happy in the soil they are in – whether it is dry or lacking nutrients – they will never be healthy. Autumn Hill Nursery shares some insight with you on how to transform our Georgia soil from a plant graveyard to a rich environment that promotes plant health.

Our red clay soil while not bad, is certainly not a day spa for your plants.  Clay is rich in minerals and nutrients (good), but also very dense (bad).  Our clay consists of small particles packed tightly together which does not allow access for air, water or small animals.  All of which are needed to create a healthy, sustainable environment.

Our soil problem boils down to this:

  • If the roots can’t get oxygen, the plants die.
  • If when it rains, water replaces the air for too long, the plants die.
  • If there are no worms and microorganisms in the soil, we have to fertilize all the time, or plants don’t thrive.

The presence of organic matter in the soil keeps the above problems at bay. How?

Organic matter such as compost, manure or decomposed wood chips throughout the soil keeps the clay from re-compacting, and allows the presence of animal life. The worms and microorganisms keep passages open for air and water. The worms and microorganisms also produce waste and when they die, decompose, replenishing the organic matter.

Starting to get the picture? Want proof of how this works?  Today we took a shovel and effortlessly dug a clump of soil from a bed in front of the nursery that we amended with compost and planted about twelve years ago. In that one shovel full of soil we found four earthworms.  Five feet away, out of the bed, and we dug another clump of soil.  No worms. Were we surprised?  Nope.

Whenever you can, till and amend your beds.  Add about one yard of soil amendment for every 200-250 square feet of bed. If you cannot till, dig as wide of holes as you can, and make about twenty five percent of your back fill soil be an amendment such as Mr. Natural’s Complete Landscape Mix,  hen or cow manure, or decomposed yard/kitchen compost.

Do you have a favorite soil amendment that you like to use? Ours is Mr. Natural’s but we’d love to hear what you’ve been using in your Woodstock, GA landscape. 

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