If you are think of using Mulch, Compost and other Soil Conditioners or Soil Ammendments to improve your soil, the first thing to know is what your soil needs.
If you know what the problem is, what your soil lacks, then you can choose the right amendment to fix the problem.
Common Soil Conditioners include :
These four products are used for different reasons, some to improve the microbial activity in soils, others to improve water retention, and some to improve drainage.
This is the most widely used soil conditioner. It adds organic matter to the soil, increases microbial activity and encourages worms. It also increases water retention until it breaks down.
Mulch is widely used and its purpose is to help train moisture by providing an insulating blanket for the soil. It will also encourage worms and help prevent weeds.
This is used in heavy clay soils to help break up the clay, improve drainage when wet and prevent the clay setting hard when dry, often called Clay Breaker. It is used in conjunction with Mulch.
This is a clay, and Kaolin is used in sandy soils as well as very free draining loamy soils to help with water retention. It is a permanent addition and when applied carefully is excellent to improving sandy soils.
You will find a number of other product used as soil conditioners including
- Microbal Soil Conditioner
- Fish emulsion
- Humid acid
Common Soil Amendment Problems.
- How to improve Sandy Soils.
The traditional answer is to add mulch and compost. These are actually short term solutions as they break down quickly. They should be used with Kaolin which will help retain moisture on a long term basis, it will assist with making compost last longer.
- How to improve Clay Soils
For this you use Gypsum in combination with compost. It needs to dug through the soil with regular applications over a number of years.
- How to improve poor or degraded soils.
Compost is the answer to poor soils. Regular applications will improve the soil, attract worms and increase microbial activity.