Understanding your soil

Soil is a valuable resource teeming with biological organisms vital to the health of our ecosystem. "A teaspoon of good farm soil contains up to one billion bacteria in more than 4,000 species" (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 2018). Without microorganisms, this matter would be dirt, only comprising of air, water, and inorganic materials. Organisms in the soil breathe oxygen, which is why annual aeration is essential for a healthy lawn. 

The most critical factor in the makeup of the soil is location. Soils can fall into three different categories clay, loam, or sand. Loam is the most desirable as it has optimal levels of both clay and sand. In Ohio, our soils have large amounts of clay, which drains poorly and resists root growth. Waterlogged soil can create a toxic environment for plants, depriving them of air and other needed nutrients. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, between 2003 and 2006, Great Oaks Subdivision experienced a soil toxicity crisis that killed most lawns. The culprit, shrink-swell, and acid sulfate soils. Shrink-swell soils are high in clay; these clay particles expand when they contact water and contract when dry. This cycle overtime brought sulfuric acids to the surface, thus killing lawns. In 2017, the city of Fredericksburg Virginia, enacted a soils testing policy