Building a Healthier Soil
Is it Just About Having a Green Lawn?
The typical marketing cultures will say sell the sizzle, not the steak. However, I think there comes a time where the sizzle has worn off and we begin to ask the question, “what’s this steak all about?” In this article, I want to explore some of the finer intricacies of what makes up every soil, and what makes a great soil.
The Sum of its Parts
Soils are made up of basically four different ingredients. Sand is a large rounded particle with relatively jagged edges. A sandy soil drains very well but has very low water retention. Because of the size and shape of the sand, it does not hold on to water and nutrients. This means you will need to water often and feed often as the soil will be quickly depleted.
On the opposite side of sand, you can have a clay soil. Clay particles are microscopically small. In fact, you need an electron microscope to even see a single piece of clay. Clay particles are also very flat. Because of this, they stack on top of each other very closely and leave little room for air or water to pass, though. Clay soils don’t drain well but do hold on to water and nutrients very well.
In between these two soil types is a third, called Loam. Loam soil is kind of in between the other two. You can think of it as the middle ground. Unfortunately, we don’t have much loam here in Idaho. By that, I really mean none at all.
The fourth main ingredient in any soil is organic material. This is often referred to as humus. This humus is the real key to making any soil great. Without it you don’t have much, just some bare particles with no nutrients. When you add organic material, you gain life. The addition of organic material to any of these other soil types improves them. In a sandy soil, it slows down the drainage and increases its ability to hold on to nutrients. In a clay soil, it increases drainage and allows the nutrients to be more readily available.
So You Want Your Lawn to be Green?
There are many ways to get that. Addressing the color of the lawn only gets you halfway there. Green by itself will fade, and over the years, it will begin to fade faster and faster. Now if we take a step back and really look at this, we see not all greens are equal. If you want a green that lasts, a green that doesn’t crash at the first sign of stress. A green that looks and feels naturally better, you need to feed the soil first. Zamzows Huma Green is perfect for this. In our heavy clay soils that are starved of nutrients, Zamzows Huma green will add the organic matter that is necessary to improve drainage, and make sure all the nutrients you put in the soil are available to the grass.