Archive | Soil Health

Report from Soil Biology School

by John Rice One of the things I love about winter is that I get to meet with scientists, professors, and researchers and learn more about the ever-changing landscaping world. To use the tools, the microscopes, etc. that they have and to see the microscopic world is just fascinating. (more…)

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Eco-Answers from the Pros: Sustainable Soil Mix

I am a landscape designer with a maintenance crew working on Martha’s Vineyard. We are reviewing our Specifications to update to sustainable practice. I have previously specified for soils to be used for backfilling plants and filling perennial beds a mix of Earthlife Compost (3 parts), peat moss (2 parts), and sand (1 part). Is […]

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Humic Substances: Markers of a Healthy Soil

by Dr. Elham A. Ghabbour and Dr. Geoffrey Davies Natural landscaping depends to a large extent on healthy soil. In this context ‘healthy’ means that the soil is carbon- and nutrient-rich and that it retains water but drains well. It’s important to know that soil carbon consists of two main pools, one of which is […]

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Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?

This article first appeared in Yale Environment 360.  by Judith D. Schwartz In the 19th century, as land-hungry pioneers steered their wagon trains westward across the United States, they encountered a vast landscape of towering grasses that nurtured deep, fertile soils. Today, just three percent of North America’s tallgrass prairie remains. Its disappearance has had a dramatic impact […]

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A Lesson on Connections: “Enhancing Ecosystem Dynamics for Trees” with Michael Phillips

by Emma Vautour As a student of ecology and an aspiring ecological landscaper, it was a privilege to attend the 2014 ELA conference and learn from many of the leading figures in the field. The conference rooms seemed to reverberate with the buzz of so many excited earth-enthusiasts, communally appreciating what fascinates them most. The […]

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Dealing with Soil Compaction

by Nina Bassuk Soil compaction is the single most difficult and harmful environmental or abiotic condition that a tree or shrub can experience. There are other environmental problems such as drought, cold temperatures, poor drainage, or lack of sunlight, but for the most part these problems can be overcome by appropriate plant selection. In the […]

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Using CU-Structural Soil to Grow Trees Surrounded by Pavement

by Dr. Nina Bassuk Soils under pavement need to be compacted to meet load–bearing requirements so that sidewalks and other pavement won’t subside and fail. Soils are often compacted to 95% peak (Proctor or modified Proctor) density before pavements are laid. When trees are planted into these soils, root growth is severely reduced or eliminated […]

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