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Soil Health

Figure 1. Soils in Los Angeles 

The Needs Assessment of Los Angeles Soils: Current Status, Community Needs, and Future Directions

By Yujuan Chen, Ph.D. 

Soil is the brown infrastructure for Los Angeles. It has great potential to mitigate current and future climate impacts by sequestering carbon, improving water supply and water quality, supporting plant growth, enhancing food production, and maintaining healthy communities. This study aims to understand the current status of LA soils, identify soil issues, and work with partners to provide a framework to move forward. 

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Green Manure

by Robert Kourik

You say you want to garden all-naturally, but the closest source of animal manure is many miles away? Then green manuring might be for you. Green manuring is the process of tilling fresh green plants into the soil to help make it drain better and allow it to hold onto more moisture, with an added bonus – the plants, as they decay, act as a readily available fertilizer. Green manuring is also pretty darn close to free fertilizer – discounting the cost of a few seeds and plenty of elbow grease. Learning how the natural cycle of decomposition works means you’ll know exactly what part of the cycle to influence, how to speed up the natural processes, and how to improve the soil in either the short or the long term.


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Mention of products is not intended to constitute endorsement. Opinions expressed in this newsletter article do not necessarily represent those of ELA’s directors, staff, or members. 

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What Is Soil Health?

by Robert Schindelbeck, Aaron Ristow, Kirsten Kurtz, Lindsay Fennell, and Harold van Es

In general, soil health and soil quality are considered synonymous and can be used interchangeably, with one key distinction conceptualized by scientists and practi­tioners over the last decades: soil quality includes both inherent and dynamic quality.

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The Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan: Overview & Survey

by Keith Zaltzberg and Jim Newman

In the Fall of 2020, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is scheduled to release the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan (MA HSAP). This ambitious plan seeks to protect and build the economic and ecological resilience of the Commonwealth through exceptional soil stewardship and will consider all major land use types, including forest, wetland, turf and managed greenspace, highly impervious built landscapes, and agriculture.

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Keep Carbon in the Ground

A Scientific Exploration of Climate Change and Soil Health by Dr. Kristen DeAngelis Soils rich in carbon are healthy soils, but climate change and poor management practices threaten to degrade soil carbon stores and in turn, degrade soils. In this article, I’ll present a brief overview of the current scientific understanding of why keeping carbon…

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The Art of Lawns at Chanticleer

by Scott Steinfeldt Chanticleer is a public garden located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. It is a garden of pleasure and learning, relaxing yet filled with ideas to take home. As the home of the Rosengartens, Chanticleer was beautiful and green with impressive trees and lawns. Most of the floral and garden development you see today has…

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Maintaining and Increasing Carbon in the Managed Landscape

Conference Session Review by Alexis Doshas Garden designs that not only fulfill the desires of the client but also support and maintain optimal soil health translate into improved carbon sequestration and storage. M.L. Altobelli of Greenery in Motion Garden Design has years of experience with sequestering carbon in beautiful gardens and shares what she’s learned…

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Book Review: Mycorrhizal Planet

Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility By Michael Phillips Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017 Soil Biology is Nature’s healthcare system. One of man’s greatest mistakes was believing the natural world needed us to create bounty or to heal itself. Michael Phillips shows us that…

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