Poor soils can describe several conditions. They can be hard, compacted, clay, very sandy, dead, and poor in nutrients, salty or chalk, stony, with very high or low pH. You can find only one of these soil problems or a combination of them. In most cases, these soil conditions only become apparent when you start digging holes for new plants or even after planting, and do not work well.
Poor soil can limit the absorption of water and nutrients by plants and prevent root growth, which can lead to yellowing, wilting, drying out, and even dying. Fortunately, poor soils can be improved with air conditioning. What are soil conditioners? This article answers this question and explains how to use soil conditioner in your garden.
What is Soil Conditioner?
The soil conditioner is all that is mixed with your soil to improve its structure. It can be manure, compost, peat moss, leaf mold, sawdust, straw, chalk, or limestone. Conditioners can be organic or artificial.
Fertilizers are not considered soil adaptations because they do not change the soil structure. They only add nutrients.
The objective of the conditioner is to bring the soil closer to a mixture composed of 50% organic or inorganic matter, 25% air, and 25% water. This is the ideal combination to make most plants happy.
The compounds can be organic or inorganic, or a combination of synthetic and natural materials. Here are some of the ingredients of organic soil conditioners:
- Animal manure
- Cover of crop residues
- Sewage sludge
- Pine bark
- Peat moss
They may be common components of inorganic soil conditioners:
- Pulverized limestone
Why Condition Your Soil?
In simple terms, inferior soil is usually any soil in which your plants do not do well. Poor soil can limit water and nutrient consumption, causing plants to yellow and not produce.
Bad soil can also be compacted, which prevents good root growth and nutrient uptake. Your soil may be too sandy or lacking in organic matter, which can lead to undernourishment of plants.
Soil conditioners solve these problems by adapting the structure of your soil. With the right material, you can improve aeration and water retention and adjust the pH.
How to Use Soil Conditioner in Gardens
You may wonder what the difference is between a soil conditioner and a fertilizer. After all, fertilizers also provide nutrients.
While it is true that fertilizers can provide nutrients to soil and plants, in clay, compacted, or hard soils these nutrients can be blocked and inaccessible to plants. Fertilizer does not change the soil structure, so it can help to treat symptoms in poor soils, but it can also be a complete waste of money if plants cannot use the added nutrients. It is best to change the soil first and then start fertilizing.
Before you use a soil conditioner in your garden, it is a good idea to do a soil test to see what conditions you are trying to improve. Different soil conditioners do different things for different soil types.
Organic changes improve soil structure, drainage, water retention, nutrient supply, and nutrition, but some organic changes may have high nitrogen content or use it in large quantities.
Garden coatings specifically dissolve and improve water and air exchange in clay and sodium-rich soils and add calcium. Lime lotions add calcium and magnesium, but also correct strongly acidic soils. Glauconite or “green sand” adds potassium and magnesium to the soil.
Soil conditioners offer many benefits for your garden soil and the plants that grow in it. They loosen the soil; promote aeration and the penetration of water and nutrients. They are generally organic, adding nutrients to the soil and stimulating the development of beneficial organisms such as earthworms. Soil conditioners also facilitate soil cultivation by preventing soil clumping. Replace air conditioners every year to keep your garden healthy.