Questions tagged [soil]

The growing medium for plants, primarily consisting of rock fragments, organic material, water, and organisms.

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39 votes
6 answers
17k views

How do I work with soil that has a high clay content?

The clay content in my garden soil is rather high. Tilling it is a royal pain, especially if there is even the slightest hint of moisture in the soil. It just turns into big sticky clumps instead of ...
gnovice's user avatar
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28 votes
3 answers
5k views

Do legumes provide nitrogen to their companions?

It's common knowledge that legumes (clover, beans, etc) can (with the help of Rhizobium bacteria) fix nitrogen from the air and hold it in the soil. Much is made of this fact -- advice that we should ...
bstpierre's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
4k views

Nothing will grow where tree was

Back in the spring we cut down a fruitless mulberry and hired someone to come grind the stump. When they were leaving they informed me that they poured a chemical into the hole where the remaining ...
Shane's user avatar
  • 3,509
25 votes
2 answers
8k views

What actually occurs for manure to become considered "well-rotted"?

I know that you shouldn't use raw manure on plants because it's bad for them, but I don't understand why. I know you should stack manure before using it (i.e. literally stack it into a big cone), and ...
bradley.ayers's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
23k views

Is it really important to give blueberry plants acidic soil?

I have two blueberry bushes which I planted at the end of the summer. Although I had read online that they prefer acidic soil, I didn't have the time to check the pH of our soil, and go out to buy ...
thebluebelle's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why is it a problem to use manure as a fertilizing amendment over the long term?

I had my soil tested last fall. As part of the submission I checked the box that said I use manure as a soil amendment / fertilizer. In the results from the lab, they included a note that said that ...
bstpierre's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
20k views

What is a 'Perched Water Table'?

In gardening, especially container gardening, you will run into the phenomenon called a 'Perched Water Table' (PWT). What is a perched water table, and how does it work?
J. Musser's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
6k views

How can I correct a nutrient excess in soil?

The soil sample I took last fall from my vegetable garden came back from the lab with this result: Optimum Range Calcium, Mehlich 3 (Ca) 2063 (...
bstpierre's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
3k views

My garden soil is devoid of nutrients, how should I improve it this winter?

The garden area in my yard has soil that even the weeds don't particularly love to grow in during the summer. They will make a half hearted attempt in the winter, but it definitely isn't as lush as ...
Ben MacAskill's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
12k views

Will dumping paint destroy a nearby tree?

One of my neighbors complained that another neighbor killed a tree in front of her home by dumping paint in the soil. (Never mind that his trees are fine and there seems no way the paint could be ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
3k views

How should I till topsoil into thick clay in small garden beds?

My house is in an area where the native earth is basically solid clay. This means that wet or dry, you can't dig with a shovel and get crumbling dirt — it always clumps together, unless you ...
Nicole's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
13k views

Are there any benefits from leaving dead leaves in the soil around a plant?

Do the dying/dead leaves that fall off young plants provide any nutrients or any benefit to the existing plant, if left in the soil around the plant?
user14541's user avatar
  • 191
19 votes
1 answer
450 views

Is triple digging worth the backache in temperate biomes?

I read in Tips for the Lazy Gardener that gardens in drier parts of Africa can be triple dug (as opposed to double dug, or as I prefer, barely dug) which will somehow absorb more water during the ...
Peter Turner's user avatar
  • 9,171
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

What are the ideal soil conditions for planting giant sequoia saplings?

I've already germinated giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) seeds for 6 weeks. What's the ideal soil conditions for planting the saplings?
silent1mezzo's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
8k views

Can we take out the whole root of Aloe Vera and replant it during transplant?

I bought a Aloe Vera in a shop a year ago and I just use the pot that came with it, so obviously I don't know what is in the soil and their components. Yesterday I felt that I should transplant the ...
lamwaiman1988's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
66k views

What is the best type of soil for growing an indoor avocado plant?

Do you know what is the best soil for an avocado plant? Would it vary depending on the breed? What would be a good recipe for this soil (for growing indoors)?
neydroydrec's user avatar
  • 1,598
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can I fix a garden tilled too early?

I've never been totally successful in waiting till the exact opportune moment to till my garden and I don't suppose that I ever will be. I usually till my garden once or twice and when I'm ready to ...
Peter Turner's user avatar
  • 9,171
18 votes
1 answer
6k views

Best help for a tree with stunted growth?

I have a few trees on my property which are at least five years old (sorry I don't know the kinds yet). Compared to other trees in neighboring lots, planted at the same age at the same time, they are ...
JYelton's user avatar
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17 votes
7 answers
201k views

To be effective, how long does Glyphosate weed killer need to be applied before it rains?

Yesterday I used around 3 litres (approximately 1 gallon) of glyphosate (generic Roundup) around my garden. It was in the evening around 6pm. This morning I awoke to the sound of rain. Will the rain ...
Coomie's user avatar
  • 2,894
17 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why is there concrete buried across my entire backyard?

As I was planting a few fruit trees last weekend, I discovered an odd and very annoying phenomenon. About 6" down from ground level, I ran across a 2" layer of really crumbly concrete/gravel mixture. ...
Doresoom's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
18k views

Is it safe to eat fruits and vegetables planted in a pet cemetery?

Are there any safety concerns in eating fruit and veggies from plants that have been growing where dead pets have been buried? Not a full blown pet cemetery, but a small and intimate location in the ...
Eight Days of Malaise's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
12k views

Does a pine needle mulch make your soil acidic?

This article from Colorado State University states that alkaline soils resist change but several years of heavy pine needle applications would create a somewhat more acid soil. This article ...
kevinskio's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
405 views

Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil?

A few days ago, I found a tiny (1cm in length) earthworm inside my pot. In general, earthworms are beneficial in improving soil fertility. Are all kinds of earthworms good for the soil?
lamwaiman1988's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
51k views

Why it is bad to add sand to soil?

Motivation: this comment from stormy: And DO NOT ADD SAND to garden soil!!! ARRRGGHH. Again, when one takes clay soil, gravel, lime, gypsum, water and then ROTATE what does one get? Concrete. Sand ...
Giacomo Catenazzi's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
470 views

What are the primary nutrients utilized by plants beyond NPK?

When talking about soil and fertilizers, what are the primary nutrients in addition to NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) that play a major role in plant development?
mfg's user avatar
  • 2,302
17 votes
1 answer
773 views

What type of tester works best for measuring soil pH? [duplicate]

I want to measure the pH of soil in my potted plants (especially for the dwarf citrus trees that I just bought). I've seen many different options: expensive laboratory-grade meters, cheap digital ...
Steven T. Snyder's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
774 views

How should I improve my extremely clayey soil?

I live in North Carolina and the soil here has an extremely high clay content. I have used soil conditioner that consists of composted pine fines to amend the soil. It does an excellent job of ...
ncmathsadist's user avatar
  • 1,529
16 votes
5 answers
13k views

Can I grow a fruit bearing pistachio tree?

I live in Zone 7 in Northwest Texas. It's pretty dry here and the soil is mostly hard clay. I'm very interested in growing fruit bearing pistachio trees, but haven't been able to find any local ...
Shane's user avatar
  • 3,509
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why use potting mix instead of natural soil?

Being a layman who is thinking of starting to garden in the yard I have a question in mind. Why does one need to buy potting mix and why not use natural soil for gardening? I live in Melbourne ...
haansi's user avatar
  • 261
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is in seed starting soil that justifies wearing gloves while handling?

I was adding miracle-gro seed starting soil to paper pots with my daughter a few months ago and was a little leery about letting her touch the stuff (let alone breathe it in). What's in it that is ...
Peter Turner's user avatar
  • 9,171
16 votes
1 answer
5k views

Will leveling uneven lawns with extra sand kill future lawns?

I just removed my old front stoop: it was a wall of field stone, filled with a layer of pea stone and 2x8x8 cubic feet of sand, and finally covered by slate. I want to level my very uneven lawn with ...
Yann's user avatar
  • 489
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do I need to correct the pH of my newly re-potted citrus tree?

I tried my hand at making my own soil for my citrus tree re potting. See below for the long story reasoning. I mixed EKO store bought (I live in an apartment) organic compost with coco coir and ...
startoftext's user avatar
15 votes
5 answers
57k views

What techniques can be used to manually sieve stones from the soil efficiently?

After our house was built there is quite a bit of hardfill (river pebbles) mixed up with the topsoil around the section (approx 180sq.m.). We want to level the section, and loosen the top layer of ...
Highly Irregular's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
20k views

How do I improve drainage vertically through clayey soil?

I live on a hill where the soil has lots of clay. My back garden has been terraced with small (1m) retaining walls. The net result is that we have several lawns / gardens with the following ...
John Fouhy's user avatar
14 votes
9 answers
14k views

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

It seems reasonable that there ought to be at least a few symbiotic plant varieties that benefit from improving soil condition for other plants. If not that, are there plants that essentially improve ...
Enigma's user avatar
  • 1,993
14 votes
3 answers
499 views

What plants take easily to clay soils?

I live in central Scotland, which is a bit damp, and the soil in my garden, despite years of aerating, adding sand etc is still quite a thick clay soil. When it is sunny I get sun all day long, so ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 2,211
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Adding worms to clay soil - worth it?

I have a large area of miserable clay soil which I'm looking to start rehabilitating. For the past 15 years it's been neglected and had nothing but some unwanted grass. It's very compacted due to ...
Drew's user avatar
  • 359
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is charcoal good for use as a soil amendment?

I came across an article the other day on wikipedia about Terra preta. Has anyone used charcoal like this to enhance sandy soil, like we have in Florida? Does this really work, and what is the best ...
psusi's user avatar
  • 706
13 votes
3 answers
55k views

What is the difference between compost and soil?

This question has been asked many times on the net and the information provided is unreliable and mostly wrong. What I am aiming to understand is what is lacking in compost that we can't just add it ...
going's user avatar
  • 6,362
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why is it bad to mix layers of soil if you do it once at the start?

In the answer @bstpierre gave to this question on ammending soil he mentioned mixing layers of soil during double digging is a bad idea. I was wondering why is this? I imagine mixing the layers at ...
Om Patange's user avatar
  • 2,908
12 votes
3 answers
11k views

Is it safe to change the entire soil surrounding the roots?

Usually when you buy plants from the store, the soil type might not be suitable to them. Is it safe to change the soil completely? I mean to remove all the soil around most of the roots, then put it ...
lamwaiman1988's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
228 views

What special steps should I take to prepare my garden for fall planting?

I am starting to think and plan out my fall/winter garden. I am looking at trying to plant some crops that will be overwintered and some crops that I can harvest before spring. What special steps ...
wax eagle's user avatar
  • 5,188
12 votes
3 answers
7k views

What should I do if the soil shrinks and separates from the flowerpot walls?

Recently we relocated a cactus into a new flowerpot. When it was planted the soil would evenly occupy the flowerpot and adjoin the flowerpot side walls. The soil isn't cactus soil, but just regular ...
sharptooth's user avatar
  • 1,665
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

My lawn is full of wild strawberries. What else can thrive in my soil?

My lawn seems to have more wild strawberries than grass (especially in the shady areas), which means it needs some work. But if it can support strawberries, there must be some great fruits/vegetables/...
agent-j's user avatar
  • 1,310
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

How much soil do I need on top of my hugelkultur beds?

I'm building a bunch of hugelkultur beds from the blowdowns, branches, trimmings, and sticks we have scattered around the property. This weekend I built a 20' long, 5' wide, 2-3' high pile of (mostly ...
bstpierre's user avatar
  • 41.6k
12 votes
2 answers
799 views

Good soil mix for bonsai?

What is a good generic bonsai soil mix? What ratio of organic / inorganic material should be included?
going's user avatar
  • 6,362
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is a recipe for a long-lasting, fast draining container soil mix with good aeration?

I'm interested in making my own container soil for some potted citrus and figs as well as something that'll work for other house plants. I've heard of Al's Gritty Mix. Does anyone have a mix that's ...
Tim Clymer's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
177 views

When is the earliest that I can safely add worms to my garden?

I live in northern Indiana and it is currently snowing. I want to add worms to my garden. Should I wait for it to warm up, start raining, or what?
Andy's user avatar
  • 123
12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Should I dig through roots when removing a mound from around a tree?

I am a first time home owner, and didn't know that a mound around a tree was bad. A 2' deep, 10' wide mound had been put around the tree a few years before I bought the house. I want to remove the ...
Mr. MonoChrome's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

How can the "soils" be improved on coral atolls.

My Parents are currently living on a small pacific coral atoll. Coral atolls, for the most part don't have much soil. Mostly they just have coral sands. These "soils" are very well drained (and they ...
naught101's user avatar
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