Organic (material) amendments
Organic material improves soil structure. Although often not necessary,
organic material can be added to sandy soils to increase nutrient and
moisture retention. Clay soils can also be amended with organic material
to help loosen the soil and provide better aeration and drainage. Compost
is the easiest organic material to use. It can be purchased at garden
supply stores or can be ordered by the truckload. A rotary tiller works
best to incorporate the organic material to your soil. A layer of 1 -
2 inches spread over your site should be tilled to a depth of 3 - 6 inches.
Even though some fertilizers are from organic sources, organic amendments
are not necessarily fertilizers and should not be substituted for them.
vs. soil amendments
Topsoil may be added to raise the soil level to a minimum depth of 6
to 8 inches. If you choose to add topsoil, do not just lay it on top of
the old soil. This may create a layered profile, making it difficult for
water to move through or for plant roots to penetrate. The topsoil should
be mixed into the existing soil. When adding soil, be sure to add a loamy
type of soil that is free of rocks, herbicide residue, weed seeds, propagules
such as rhizomes of bermudagrass or nutlets of nutsedge, or other debris.
The ideal soil pH ranges from 5.5 - 7.0. Soils with a pH of 5.5 or lower
are too acidic. Lime can be added to raise the soil pH. Soils with a pH
of 7.0 or higher are too alkaline and can be modified with elemental sulfur.
The professional soil analysis will assist you
in determining what kind of amendment you may need, if any.