Good quality soil is the bedrock of a healthy and lush green earth, and if your lawn looks dry and unappealing with yellow-brown patches, chances are that you need to find out how to restore soil fertility and retain it.
For a thriving lawn, it’s necessary to make sure the soil beneath the grass stays in great shape. Understand that soil is not a lifeless substance. It’s alive and made up of organic matter, minerals, microorganisms, air, and water – just like you! It’s about time you treat it just like you would treat a human being, with care and respect. In return, you’ll be rewarded with lush greenery that will surround you and your family for years to come. We’ve listed a few ways you can restore soil fertility and grow lush green grass in your lawn or backyard!
How to Restore Soil Fertility in Your Lawn
1. Add Organic Compost
Compost is a mixture of decomposed leaves, dried plants, and vegetable waste that can be used as a fertilizer to improve the health of lawn soil. It also feeds worms and other organisms present in the ground and keeps it loose to increase aeration. It helps the soil retain moisture and protect grass and plants from pests and diseases. Using organic compost as a fertilizer is a great way to recycle biodegradable waste.
Making compost is something you can do on your own. Mix one part of wet, green ingredients such as kitchen scraps with three parts of dry ingredients like branches, dried leaves, etc., for best results. Water the compost pile regularly.
2. Prevent Hardening of the Soil
If you park your car on your lawn or keep heavy machinery, there is a strong chance that the lawn suffers from soil compaction. A hardened or compressed soil will not allow water and nutrients from reaching the grassroots and will make a lawn dull and barren. Soil needs to be loose so that the grass and plant roots can spread out in search of water. It also helps microorganisms to move freely underneath and turn organic matter into nutrients.
The best way to stop the soil from becoming hard is by aerating your lawn from time to time. It’s a method in which tiny holes are drilled into the soil so that air, water, and nutrients can easily reach the roots. For smaller areas with light compaction, you can use a pitchfork to loosen up the soil. However, if you have a big lawn or garden, you’ll need an aeration machine. Or better, call a lawn care service like Weed-A-Way that offers aeration services.
3. Get the Soil Tested
Cultivating a healthy soil for your lawn is not an overnight process. It is something you do continuously, year after year. That’s why it’s necessary to test your soil every few years. A soil test helps you determine the pH level in the soil. A high pH level is considered toxic and should be avoided. The test will also indicate the amount of Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Sulpher (S), and other nutrients present in the soil and if they are in the right quantity.
While you can do a soil test yourself, it would be a good idea to get it done by the lawn professionals. They will know exactly what to look for and provide info to help you understand what condition the soil is in. If you’d like to get soil pH analysis done, get in touch with Weed-A-Way.
4. Mulch the Soil Surface
Mulching is the process by which layers of manure or compost are applied to the soil surface. It not only helps maintain the soil moisture but also keeps the soil temperature in check. If done correctly, mulching can greatly improve soil fertility. As mulch slowly decomposes, it offers nutrients of the worms and insects underneath and keeps the soil cycle going.
There are plenty of materials that you can use as mulch for your lawn. Organic residues such as hay, straw, leaves, sawdust, shredded bark, etc., are all great options. Compost made of kitchen scraps is another good source of organic mulch. People use shredded newspapers, cardboards, and animal manure as mulch too.
5. Lime Treatment
When nutrients such as calcium and magnesium drain out of the soil, it makes the soil acidic. Soil with high acidic content is more likely to get infected with a fungal disease that can destroy the soil structure. To prevent this, the soil is treated with lime that restores the pH balance and helps regain its lost fertility. It’s a quick, simple, and cost-effective process to improve soil fertility.
Many people think that the lime treatments are something you do before you lay grass on the property. That’s not true. Mature lawns can receive lime treatment too if they have turned acidic due to the loss of nutrients and are unable to maintain lushness. It’s a good idea to apply lime just before the frost season so that the soil has all winter to absorb it. Do not apply lime over a wilted or dormant lawn.
6. Avoid Tilling the Soil
If you want to keep your soil rich and fertile, stay away from tilling methods such as shoveling and raking at all costs. While these methods are useful in large farms, they will have harmful effects on the soil of your lawn or a garden. It will not only lose nutrients and fertilizers, but it will also lose the capacity to retain water. Even worse, it can encourage soil erosion that would mark the beginning of the end of your once-beautiful lawn.
If you need loose soil for planting purposes, there are ways you can do that without tilling the ground. Use a digging fork to gently loosen the first few inches of the soil without turning the soil over. This way, you won’t destroy the soil structure or disturb the microbial activities going on underneath.
7. Grow Nutrient-Collecting Plants
Some plant species have roots that collect specific nutrients from the soil. They are known as nutrient accumulators and are a great way to increase the fertility of the soil. These nutrient-rich plants can be chopped into pieces and used as mulch all year round. There is a research study that suggests using comfrey plants as organic soil fertilizer. Yarrow plants are also known to collect and store nutrients.
Always keep in mind that soil restoration is an ongoing process that takes time, patience, and the right expertise. If you have a lawn that needs proper care and maintenance, get in touch with Weed-A-Way Lawn Service now! We have been in the lawn care business for over 40 years and serve Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Georgetown, Caledon, Hamilton, and Etobicoke areas.