Old Soil, New Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Burlington, IA
Question by chuck8511
June 25, 2001
I am re-doing the front of my mothers house where bushes have been for the last 40 years, the soil is hard and I am wondering is I should add something to the soil to rejuvinate it so I have a no fail growth. Any suggestions for the a soil additive?


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Answer from NGA
June 25, 2001

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Usually, the best approach is to run some basic soil tests to check on the pH and fertility,then to add necessary amendments as indicated by the results. Your county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. In addition, soil structure can usually be improved by adding copious amounts of organic matter such as compost or old rotted leaves or well aged manure/bedding. It is best to prepare the soil as deep as you can, at least to a foot down by loosening it and working in the materials. After planting, it is important to keep the new roots evenly moist but not sopping wet up until the ground freezes. Watering deeply but less often is preferable over a daily light sprinkling. You can dig down into the soil to make sure your watering is deep enough and to see if you need to water again. Finally, using a mulch several inches thick can help keep the soil moisture and temperature more constant and also helps keep down weeds. It will continue to feed the soil on an ongoing basis as it breaks down, too. I apologize for the delay in asnwering your question. By now you may have already planted and if so, I hope the plants are doing well for you.

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