A soil amendment is any material added to a soil to improve its physical properties, such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration and structure. The goal is to provide a better environment for roots to grow and absorb water and nutrients.
Amending a soil is not the same thing as mulching, although mulch can be used as amendments. Mulch is left on the soil surface. Its purpose is to reduce evaporation and runoff, inhibit weed growth, and create an attractive appearance. Mulch will also moderate soil temperature. Organic mulches may be incorporated into the soil as amendments after they have decomposed to the point that they no longer serve their original purpose.
Organic vs. Inorganic
There are two categories of soil amendments: organic and inorganic. Organic amendments come from something that was alive. They include sphagnum peat, wood chips, grass clippings, straw, compost, manure, biosolids, sawdust, bone meal or leaf mold, and wood ash. The main purpose of using organic amendments is to loosen the soil and create large pores to increase:
• usable water holding capacity
• nutrient holding capacity
Inorganic amendments are either mined or man-made. They include vermiculite, perlite, pea gravel and sand. Inorganic amendments are used to:
• increase aeration
• increase drainage
• decrease excessive water holding capacity
Benefits of Soil Amendments
Organic amendments increase soil organic matter content and offer many benefits.
• Organic matter improves soil aeration, water infiltration, and both water- and nutrient-holding capacity.
• Soil amendments improve the soil aggregation, and increase porosity and permeability.
• Organic amendments contain plant nutrients and act as organic fertilizers.
• Organic matter is an important energy source for bacteria, fungi and earthworms that live in the soil.
The science of growing and maintaining a lawn has advanced rapidly and is trouble-free if you follow a basic plan. Start with the right foundation of soil, water, and nutrients. Think “soil” when improving your lawn. Amend your soil with the proper nutrients and complete with the correct watering and your lawn will be the picture of beauty.
Rain Rich now offers organic soil amendments for your lawn and garden. One great product that we use and recommend is WaterGrip.
We also install and maintain fertigation systems that automatically and consistently introduce all the beneficial microbes and fungi to the soil as well as organic fertilizer.
If would like to learn more about soil amendments or if you wish to have your soil tested contact Rain Rich (631) 423-2211 or click here.