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PortWatch

January 23, 2013

Tim's Tips: Watch loam levels to help soil thrive

“It’s the soil.” During the many years I have been in this industry, that phrase is probably one of the most commonly used answers to problems that have occurred in people’s lawns and or gardens. Let me explain why.

During the spring, I will see many customers who have had a problem lawn for some time. The customer will seed the lawn and keep it watered and fertilized, and the grass will grow; but by summer, the grass is starting to fade out. By the following spring, the customer is starting all over again. When this occurs, I will ask a lot of questions to try to find out what is going wrong with the lawn. I will ask about insects. They have no insect problems. They have kept up with watering, fertilizing and applying lime to the lawn. So the next question I ask is, “How much loam do you have in your lawn?”

Most people have no idea how much loam there is under their grass. I ask them to take a shovel and dig out a 6-inch deep sample of soil and bring that sample into the store. When I take a look, there is usually two inches of loam and the rest of the soil is either sand or clay. In order to grow a lawn that will thrive, you need at least six inches of quality loam.

If you don’t have that much loam, your grass is not going to flourish. As much of a pain as it will be, you will need to dig up the grass and either remove the soil down six inches and then fill back in with six inches of loam, or to dig up the grass and apply six inches of loam on top of the existing soil. This is not an easy chore, but ultimately, it is the only solution to a problem lawn.

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