Common Soil Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

soil mistakes

Dealing with soil can be quite complicated at times. Not only do you have to deal with different types of soils depending on the project, but you also have to account for climate, weather, and pests. A straightforward planting job can quickly go awry if you don’t make the right decisions to start or properly tend to the soil from day 1. Whether you are planting a few potted plants or starting a new garden from scratch, it is imperative that you consider the type of soil for your project, and properly tend to it. Keep reading to learn about the most common soil mistakes and how you can avoid such soil mistakes in your landscaping and gardening projects!

Nothing Grew

There are few things more frustrating than spending hours laying soil, spreading seeds, and watering the patch just to see nothing happening. If nothing grew in your soil there can be a few issues behind it. First, you may not have incorporated your seeds into the soil well enough. Leaving them sitting on the surface without mixing seeds into the soil can make them easy targets for birds.

A more serious issue might be the quality of the soil itself. If you’ve done everything right but still nothing grew, you should test your soil. This will help you make sure that the pH and nutrient levels are on par with what you’re trying to plant. If they’re out of whack, you can use soil additives to get the levels where they need to be.

Soil Turned Hard

If you laid new soil and it turned hard, you are not alone. In fact, hardening soil is a very common problem. The last thing you want is to lay soil and have it dry out within a few days, all but rendering the seeds you planted useless. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to avoid this mistake and they both come down to your watering technique.

The first issue is that you might be watering at the wrong time of day. If you water during the afternoon when it’s hottest—and sunniest!—you will lose most of the moisture due to evaporation. Something else to take into consideration is that the water droplets can actually act as magnifying glasses and scorch your seedlings. To combat this, water first thing in the morning or at night to retain the moisture and protect your seedlings and leaves.

This common soil issue is also caused by not watering enough. Most people spray the surface area of the soil and consider it a job well down. Unfortunately, that is not the case. By scraping away a thin layer of soil you will often see that it is dry only a few millimeters down. To prevent soil from drying out your need to completely saturate the soil, watering until the water will not soak in anymore. If you find the soil is not absorbing well, you can also poke the soil with a rake or other aeration tool to ensure the water can penetrate more. 

If your soil is still crumbly and cracked even after watering it sufficiently, your best bet is to add organic matter. Be sure not to compact the soil and add the organic matter frequently to help restore your soil.

Everything Sunk

Another common soil problem is that your soil sinks. You might fill a hole—whether it be fence posts you removed, filling in a pond, etc.—and realize in a couple of weeks or months that the soil has sunk and is no longer level with the existing surrounding soil.  That is due to settling and is very common. When you’re filling in a hole, even if you tamp it down, some settling is going to occur. That is why when filling a hole in, you should leave a crown of soil that is at least a few inches above the surrounding areas. Within a few months, the soil you laid will settle and everything will be flush. If there is still a slight hump after a few months, you can always use a roller to flatten everything out.

Weeds Popped Up

Another common soil problem is that weeds sprout up faster than anything else and crowd the seedlings you’re trying to grow. This is common if you purchase a lower quality soil that is full of weed seeds. Even “clean” soil can typically sprout weeds if it isn’t dealt with properly. One way to solve this is planting in fall after weed germination season has slowed down. If that isn’t practical, you can either pull the weeds or apply a broadleaf weed killer, crabgrass preventer, or another appropriate weed killer.

Bug or Slug Invasion

Something you might not expect to deal with when you lay new soil is a slug invasion. Moisture attracts slugs as they like to lay their eggs in cool, moist locations. If you just laid soil and seeds and are constantly watering it to keep the soil moist, you might experience slugs. The issue is that they are difficult to spot due to their dark color and tendency to only come out at night. They can quickly multiply so you need to catch them quickly before they lay their eggs. To get rid of slugs, you can utilize beer or milk traps, along with slug repellant, and other traps.

Contact Kurtz Bros., Inc. Today for Answers to Your Soil Problems!

If you are working with soil, you should rely on the experts at Kurtz Bros., Inc.! Our landscaping experts know the different types of soils and how to best work with and tend to them. Not only can we help you select the right soil for a new garden or tree planting, but we can also discuss proper care to ensure you don’t run into any of these common soil mistakes. If you do run into any soil mistakes, whether the soil is drying up or infested with slugs, it is important to act quickly. Call Kurtz Bros., Inc. today to discuss your project or soil issues and get expert advice! With quality landscape supplies, the tools you need to get the job done right, and experts with industry knowledge, Kurtz Bros., Inc. is your one-stop shop for all your landscaping and gardening projects.