Building healthy soil

One landscape company is hoping to create lush lawns that last by amending the dirt.

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November 6, 2014
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Jeff Carroll isn’t in the business of selling fertilizer; he’s hoping to mend soils instead. Carroll, owner of Jefferson Sustainable Landscape Management in Woodinville, Wash., wants to create a healthy soil without the synthetic amendments.

“We’re going to build your soil so that when you’re seven years into your house and you start to grow and everything is mature now, your soil is going to be better,” he says, noting that in many cases, landscapers will plant in non-amended soil and just keep fertilizing. “I would rather amend your soils, make sure the drainage is better and then put in some organic fertilizer and see how it goes and then deal with issues as they come.”

To help solve nutrient problems, as well as drainage issues, Carroll adds compost to the soil to help break up the clay and give plants a better chance at absorbing nutrients. He recommends roto-tilling about 3/4 –inch of compost for lawns, along with some organic fertilizer.

He says that if his company can address soil problems, they can deal with pretty much any other issue that comes their way. "People will just pump fertilizer and pump fertilizer and pump fertilizer and no one really does soil testing," he says.