The Q&A Archives: Soil Amendment

Question: I am trying to reclaim my old perennial/herb garden. My neighbors planted pine trees, excess shade an pine needles have wreaked havoc. All plants except shade lovers have died. They (the neighbors) are now thinking of removing the trees. After clearing the pine needles, weeds, and unwanted plants, what would I need to add to the soil to replant perennials and herbs?

Answer: You could start by running some basic soil tests to check fertility and the soil pH. Add fertilizer and lime as indicated by the test results and loosen the soil down about a foot. Flower beds usually benefit from having additional organic matter such as compost, old rotted fall leaves, or well aged stable manure/bedding added to it. Use an organic mulch year round to help add organic matter on an ongoing basis as it breaks down over time. The pine needles are organic matter and could be composted or can be used as mulch around acid-loving plants such as azaleas or rhododendrons.

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