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Maintain Your Landscape – The Real Dirt

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By Beau Propes, Earth Kind Services

Maintaining your landscape can be a challenge here in North Texas.  There a lot of factors that contribute to having a healthy landscape, one of the biggest is the soil that the plants are growing in.

In our area you may have black clay, sandy rock soil, or mystery builder dirt that has all kind of surprise hidden treasures in it.  Contractors that build homes in our area are usually concerned with a stable soil for the house foundation, not a rich soil for the lawn.  The grass and plants can struggle with many issues due to a weak ecosystem in the soil.  Improving the soil and its diversity with organic matter is the best long term, sustainable solution to a beautiful healthy landscape.

Yes, in healthy soil there are beneficial bacteria, fungus, algae, protozoa, and larger critters like earthworms. These beneficial organisms keep your soil healthy, decompose organic matter, replenish soil nutrients, form humus, promote root growth, increase nutrient uptake, and also break down herbicides and pesticides.  Adding organic matter is essential to help this soil food web to thrive.  On flower beds use a good quality mulch like native hardwood mulch that will break down into compost.

On your lawn, mulch leaves and grass clippings when possible.   You can also top dress your lawn with a good quality compost to add marvelous organic matter to invigorate your soil.  You can spread compost yourself or hire a professional.   Compost has the unique ability to improve soil structurally, biologically, and nutritionally.

For a successful landscape it’s also important to have the right plants in the right place. A bad example would be trying to grow most types of Bermuda grass in the shade and then over-trimming a tree so the Bermuda grass can grow there. In a shady area choose a shade tolerant grass like St. Augustine or Zoysia, choose a shade loving ground cover, or just mulch it. Some shady areas may do better with some gravel or stones instead of trying to growing grass. Proper watering is important as well.  Less frequent, but deeper watering works best in our area for most established plants.

Contact Earth Kind Services at www.earthkindservices.com

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