Soil is the basic foundation of any garden or lawn’s health for all gardeners. Recently, I heard many of my gardener friends complaining about the type of soil in their lawns & gardens. Sandy soil is cursed a lot by gardeners as it comes with a lot of complications for them.
It becomes difficult for them to keep sandy soil healthy & fertile as it takes away all the nutrients and water from the soil, which in turn makes it difficult for plants to thrive. So, I decided to do some of my own research on sandy soils.
What is Sandy Soil?
Sandy soils also known as ‘Light Soils’ have a high percentage of sand in them. They are easy to work with but not easy to manage. These types of soils contain a rocky layer of eroded rocks because of which they tend to dry out rapidly. 15% of clay & silt particles are found when it is dug to analyze the soil profile. Sandy soil can be easily spotted in an area and it is difficult to grow plants in this type of soil. The fertility of sandy soil is less as compared to other soils as it lacks nutrients and water.
Factors affecting Sandy Soil
The major issue with sandy soil is the lack of moisture and nutrients. This can be amended by increasing the ability of the soil to hold water and by increasing the nutrients in the soil. This can be done by adding organic matter like compost & manure to the soil. Fertilizers can also be added to the soil, but they have to be used efficiently.
Let us learn about some factors which can be checked before gardening on sandy soil.
The normal pH required for the growth of plants is 6.5. To analyze whether the pH is alkaline or acidic & to change the quality of sandy soil you should be aware of the pH of the soil in your lawn. Sandy soils are mostly acidic because of which plants which are acid-loving flourish in them. Acidic level of soils can be decreased by adding lime to it which is quite cheap to buy.
Addition of Wetting Agents
Retaining water is important for sandy soil to aid to the problem of moisture-retention. Addition of wetting agents can succor in this. They help water repellent soil to hold water for a long time. Vermiculite is one example of wetting agents which are suitable to add to sandy soils. Vermiculite oxygenates the soil and it can easily absorb important minerals like potassium, magnesium and aluminium.
Reversing of Soil Salinity
Excessive quantity of salt in sandy soil can prove to be harmful for the plants. Soil salinity can be reduced only by drainage system enhancement. Water softener can also be used to improve the conditions of salty soil.
Top Soil of the Lawns
Topdressing of a lawn can be done by adding a thin layer of organic manure or compost over the grass. This keeps the dry thatches in control and lowers lawn stresses.
Fertilizers are important for plantation, but if not used properly, they may turn out to be harmful to the soil. So, using an organic fertilizer is a much better option. Biochar is one such organic fertilizer, which can be used for sandy soil improvement. Biochar is known for its high porosity and ability to hold nutrients. Biochar acts as a home to many beneficial microbes such as mycorrhizal fungi mycelium. It can be made of agricultural waste like plants, straw, stalks and wood. The woody organic matter in Biochar makes the soil high-yielding.
Leaves are also good organic fertilizers for sandy soil. They are a significant source of carbon and they neutralize the excessive nitrogen in compost.
Manure compost is full of nitrogen, which is an important nutrient for the growth of plants. Manure has a lot of benefits for the improvement of sandy soil. Once manure is absorbed in the soil, it liberates the nutrients. Manure is a slow release plant fertilizer and it releases the nutrients slowly into the sandy soil over a course of time. It also increases the amount of carbon in the soil.
Sharing below are some of the good organic fertilizers that you can use in your lawn.
1) TrashCan, All Purpose Natural Fertilizer
2) Natural Alternative Fall Lawn Fertilizer 21-0-4 Enriched with Protilizer Seed & Plant Activator Application 4 (25050)
3) AgroThrive Organic Fertilizer - General Purpose (2.5 gal)
I hope this post helps you all to improve the conditions of sandy soil in your lawn. Don’t forget to take advantage of the good points of sandy soil i.e. loose soil quality and good drainage. Many root crops like carrots, beetroots and radish thrive well in sandy soil.
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