Soil transplant needed? - Knowledgebase Question

Towand, Il
Question by lmyr5
March 22, 2010
My foundation perennials plants suffer and die slow deaths. Flowering shrubs don't flower - ever. Soil tests show adequate nutrients, good ph and it's all Illinois sawmill loam type. Do I have to replace the soil?

Answer from NGA
March 22, 2010


I don't think you need to replace the soil but you can certainly improve it with the addition of organic matter. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the bed. (Or at least remove the perennials and work around the shrubs). You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your perennials and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular garden. Hope you have a beautiful garden!

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