Organic Soil Building Program
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Appalachian Tree Care is proud to offer the most comprehensive organic soil building program in the area. Our program is based on the principle that the health of trees, shrubs, and turf is dependent primarily on the health of the soil in which they live.
While chemical fertilizers can offer a "quick fix" of nitrogen, and with it a rapid greening of plant tissue, the effects on the soil are distinctly negative. In order to understand why, a basic knowledge of how soil works is necessary.
Soils vary from place to place, but all soils consist of a combination of the basic building blocks: minerals, water, air, and organic matter. There are billions of microbes that thrive in this environment and interact with these elements. Amazingly, there are more microbes in a cup of healthy soil than there are people on our planet. These microbes perform a multitude of functions; primarily the decomposition and transformation of elements in the soil. Scientists agree that we could never identify all of the different types of microbes nor comprehend all the ways which they function. What we have known for decades is that their presence in the soil is absolutely essential for the healthy growth of trees and plants.
Chemical fertilizers short circuit this natural process by providing elements in a chemical form which is readily available to plants. While this can produce rapid growth in plants in a short time, there are many negative consequences. Chemical fertilizers kill beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil. Soil without microbial life is dead soil, and dead soil will only support plant life with the regular addition of more chemical fertilizer. In addition, plants growing in a dead soil are vastly more susceptible to disease and pests. Thatch build-up in your lawn is a good indicator that the microbial action in your soil is low. In healthy soil, thatch is naturally decomposed.
While fertilizing chemically is an endless cycle of maintaining (purchasing) certain levels of chemicals in the soil, an organic approach focuses on the building of a naturally healthy soil through the encouragement of natural soil health. When soil is healthy, trees and plants thrive while disease and pests are kept at bay. The naturally healthy landscape can become one that is much safer, greener, healthier, and less work (cheaper) than the modern "chemical lawn".
Your organic soil building program will be custom designed for you based on your individual needs, determined through soil testing, and will be prescribed as an incremental program. Generally, it takes about three years to build a healthy, organic soil, at which time only a basic maintenance plan is required. Our recommendations will include some or all of the following:
Lime or Gypsum
Most soil in our area needs additional lime or gypsum on a regular basis. These basic elements are used to bring the pH of an acidic soil to balance. Balanced pH is essential to insure maximum uptake of nutrients from the soil.
Humates are the result of the decomposition of prehistoric plant and animal matter, humus. Technically, Humates are the salt form of the humic acids, which is found in humus. Without humus and Humates plants can not survive. The humic acids (humic, ulmic, and fulvic) are beneficial in many ways. We can send you information, but your best bet, if you're curious about Humates, is to do a Google search. There is a wealth of information about this amazing natural resource.
Organic Liquid Fertilizer
This is the heart and soul of our tree and plant health care program. Soil health depends on the presence of lots of good organic matter to feed the microbial life. Our organic fertilizer, a special blend of natural products, is the best way to provide a regular infusion of some of the most potent organic material around. We also have other organic treatments, such as humic acids, which promote root growth, enable nutrient uptake, and reduce the effects of stress.
Compost Tea provides soil with the most readily available nutrients of any organic soil amendment. Compost tea is difficult to brew correctly, because measures must be taken to preserve the microbial action taking place. We use this amazing product in the soil and as a foliar spray. Plants and trees love it!
Mulching is widely practiced, but often in a way that is less than ideal. Done properly, it is one of the most beneficial, and least expensive things you can do for the health of your trees. We can provide you with all the information you need to do it right yourself. Or you can have us do it and rest assured it was done correctly.
Occasionally, when a yard lacks adequate topsoil we recommend bringing in high quality topsoil and spread it thinly over your lawn to establish the foundation for a healthy soil.
A thick, lush carpet of grass is the best defense in your lawn against weeds. This is another part of the process some of our customers like to do themselves. We can help you determine the proper seed to use, and the right timing, or we can incorporate it into your Soil Building Program.
Insect, Weed, and Disease Control
We can suggest and implement strategies for control of insects, weeds, and disease through the use of organic, biological, or cultural controls. This eliminates the need to use chemicals, maintaining a safe environment for your family and pets around your house.