Our industry association, Landscaping Victoria, held a conference on ‘Soil in the Landscape’ to help improve our knowledge of how to deal with soil in different situations.
For several reasons there has been a misconception built over time where we have been advised to dig out the existing soil without consideration and import new organic soil, when in many cases we are better off using and treating the existing site soil.
Senior Soil Scientist at SESL Australia has some tips on the process to undertake in assessing existing site soil and how to treat it correctly.
o Test soil PH with an aim to read between 5-7 – add lime to high acid soil or add sulphur (iron sulphate) to high PH soil.
o Touch test for soil texture – assess clay / silt / sand levels in existing soil. When moist, the soil should roll into a small golf size ball and then slowly ply and break away once pressed. Add Gypsum and sandy loam mixed through clay soils and add compost through sandy soils.
o Assess colour for how rich the soil is. The darker it is, the richer in nutrients.
o Smell soil for health. Rotten eggs being anaerobic blocked soil vs sweet rich smelling soil being healthy.
What kind of soil do you have at your place?