The Q&A Archives: Soil improvement

Question: I have a new home located on about a 4 acre lawn that is on sandy soil. We are trying to gradually improve the soil without breaking the bank. I know if we just add fertilizer it will leach thru the sand. Can you suggest a way to improve the soil itself? I have started a compost pile, but obviously it will be a while and it will never be large enough to improve 4 acres. I am at a loss as to where to begin to build up the soil. I would appreciate any and all suggestions, timelines, etc.

Answer: You might be able to find a commercial source of compost, such as a municipal composting operation or autumn leaf collection point, or mushroom growing farm, or possibly a horse stable to purchase composted material in bulk. Or, you could consider growing cover crops such as annual rye or buckwheat and tilling them into the soil. Also, certainly use a mulching mower blade and leave your lawn clippings on the lawn. Your local county extension might have ideas on sources for organic matter you could obtain locally at reasonable cost. Good luck with your project!

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