The Top Problems And Solutions For Soil Compaction

Turf Symptoms Of Soil Compaction

Below are 5 signs to look for to determine potential soil compaction. If any of the symptoms are occurring there is a good chance the soil is compacted and needs attention and immediate maintenance.

  1. Shallow, thicker and shorter roots
  2. Smaller and fewer leafs/blades
  3. Thin patches
  4. Lacks green color
  5. Overrun by weeds (e.g., knotweed, crabgrass, annual bluegrass, goosegrass, clover)

Tips for Preventing and Correcting Soil Compaction

Incorporating any of the 3 tips below into a turf maintenance program can help reduce soil compaction.

Reduce and direct traffic:

  • Reduce traffic by the establishing pathways of concrete, pavers, gravel or dirt.
  • Minimize traffic when the soil is wet or near field capacity.

Take the extra necessary steps:

  • Use maintenance vehicles with pneumatic tires.
  • Change up the mowing patterns to reduce mower use on the same route.
  • Increase the height of the cut to increase wearability and root depth.
  • On golf courses, build large greens in order to frequently rotate cup placement.
  • On sports fields, occasionally move around the field boundaries.

Modify the soil:

  • Develop a soil medium that is more resistant to compaction with sand or loamy soils.
    • Note that the addition of sand to clay soils may actually increase their compatibility and destroy soil structure due to the development of cementing conditions. 
  • Add organic soil amendments such as Mirimichi Green’s CarbonizPN Soil Enhancer to decrease compactibility of the soil. (However, it is not a long term fix and requires additional amending.)
  • Incorporate one or more cultivation practices (e.g., coring, grooving, slicing, or spiking) into the turf maintenance practices. 

There is no single practice or product that can solely correct compaction problems and several must be combined for a successful maintenance program. The top solution for soil compaction is combating compaction before it has developed into a problem.

Give these tips a try and let us know what works best for you.

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How to make the best choice between sod, seed or hydroseed

Renovating any landscape or development area can often lead to many tough decisions – how to make the best choice between sod, seed or hydroseed is usually one of them. Below is a break down a few things to take into consideration because each project has different factors that come into play.

What is the budget?

There are price gaps depending on the size of the job and equipment/material prices and availability. Typically, sod is the most expensive option, costing customers between $6,000 and $10,000 for about an acre, due to high material and labor costs. The middle-ground option is hydroseed, and depending on the mix of the materials, it can cost a customer about $2,500 to $6,500 an acre. The application isn’t as labor intensive, but additional costs like finding skilled or licensed hydroseed technicians can cause the price to be higher. Also, hydroseeding usually isn’t an option for small jobs. Seed is typically cheapest, costing a customer from $1,000 to $5,000 per acre.

What tools are available?

Access to the proper tools is another major factor. Do you own or would you need to rent the equipment for the various installation methods? If you’re laying sod by hand, transporting sod pallets requires a skid-steer. Laying large rolls of sod mechanically is often the most efficient method, though it requires a “big roll” attachment on a tractor or skid-steer. Hydroseeding requires specific, heavy-duty equipment, including a retrofitted truck and a skilled crew to operate the equipment. Most companies revert to renting it or subcontracting the service. Seeding requires the least equipment and skill—a small push spreader can work depending on the size of the property or specialized equipment like a slit seeder may be beneficial for larger projects.

How quickly do you want to see results?

Contractors call sod “instant green” because it looks great the day it’s laid and provides instant gratification. Its fast-fix nature makes it perfect for commercial customers, like campus or property managers, with money to spend. But, sod requires upkeep and a good irrigation system or else the sod will die quickly. Seed can take four to five weeks before it begins to sprout. Many contractors prefer seed for longevity, suggesting it for homeowners who are less concerned with immediacy and want lasting results. Hydroseed typically takes as long to sprout as seed, however, its quick, efficient application is fit for large-scale properties, like fields or roadside turf, but it may be overkill in a backyard.

Vital components for success

Regardless of the installation method, the soil and water determine the success of a property. Prior to planting, it’s important to do a soil test. Lack of quality soil is often a detriment to new homes’ lawns or any property that has had issues with growing grasses. The test reveals what nutrients are lacking in the soil profile. While applying fertilizers may provide a temporary fix, it is important to get organics back into the soil. Here is a product line that can ensure healthy soil.

New Reviews About Outstanding Turf At TIEC

Tryon Internation Equestrian Center (TIEC) has a grass complex that is receiving new reviews about outstanding turf from riders across the country. The Grass Complex at Tryon International Equestrian Center offers the latest in turf technology. TIEC has a hybrid Bermuda grass called TifTuf Turf, which requires 38% less water irrigation, provides longer growing sustainability and season, as well as an ability to “repair” itself more quickly than traditional grasses. The entirety of the field also has been grown using a proprietary organic material from Mirimichi Green. Mirimichi Green’s products contribute to the thickness and longevity of the turf, but most importantly, the reduction of compaction in the soil. The TifTuf Turf used across the field is developed with ESI international footing surface of specialized sands, organic materials, and synthetic fiber installed on top of a six-inch high drainage system.

Spanning more than 12-acres, the Grass Complex has hosted both international and national show jumping classes, as well as international and national hunter derby competitions, and even portions of the cross-country phase of eventing during the 2016 USEA American Eventing Championships. Read more about what the TIEC competitors are saying about the Grass Complex.

 

How to Choose the Right Soil for You

Successful growing starts from the ground and works it’s way up to the plant. Making sure you have the right inputs is absolutely necessary. Here’s how to know what to look for.

Healthy soil will aid an ecosystem of beneficial micro-organisms and nutrients to feed your plants. The first step you should always take is to make sure your soil is optimized to grow your plants. But how can you tell? You can test your soil with a home testing kit that will tell you pH and nutrient levels. Chances are, you’ll need to amend your soil.

Garden Soils

The soil is your first basic ingredient for a garden. Your current soil is likely lacking in nutrients and components needed for a healthy, prosperous garden. Adding garden soil will solve that problem.

Garden soils are great for a wide range of plants and gardens, including lawns, flowers, herbs, vegetable, and fruits. Proven garden soils are packed with elements that promote a healthy soil make up. Specialized garden soils can soften hard clay, improve drainage, or buffer the pH.

Planting Mix

When planting a shrub, bush, or tree, you will probably need to improve the soil in the planting hole. Just remember, planting mix is meant to be a soil amendment, not a soil replacement. Planting mixes will improve the soil structure around your new plant, getting it off to a successful start.

Potting Mix For Containers & Raised Beds

Plants that grow in pots or raised beds have different needs than plants that grow in the ground. That’s why it is important to always use a potting mix for your pots and raised beds. This is different than a garden soil or planting mix. Potting and raised bed mixes contain fibers like perlite, rice hulls, and coconut fibers (coir) to encourage proper drainage and water retention.

Organic Mulch

You don’t want to use just any type of mulch. We recommend organic mulch, made from organic matter with no chemicals or harmful synthetic ingredients that can leach into the ground. A layer of organic mulch can help to reduce watering needs, as well as, help keep the soil cool, make it harder for weeds to grow and can enhance the look of a garden. Also, when organic mulch begins to decompose, it will add even more organic matter to the soil.

Fertilizers

Not everyone is lucky enough to have fertile soil. Your current soil is most likely deficient in nutrients or may have imbalanced pH levels. Fertilizers are a simple way to improve your soil’s fertility and provide nutrients to your plants and lawn.

It is very important to choose your fertilizers carefully. Some fertilizers can cause more harm than good from the chemicals and ingredients it is composed of. Chemical fertilizers will leech your soil of beneficial organic matter, micro-organisms, and nutrients required for a healthy, sustainable growth. Organic fertilizers or organic based fertilizers are made from natural materials that enrich your soil with nutrients, making it a more fertile and putting nutrients back into the soil for your plants to grow. Learn more about our proven soil products.

Choosing the right organic gardening products.

When selecting soil or soil additives, it’s not enough to simply look for the word “organic” on the package. Make sure you also look carefully at the ingredients on the label or in the Guaranteed Analysis. Many products that claim to be organic can still have harmful ingredients in the mix. Look for products that have been verified by an accredited, independent organization that meets the USDA National Organic Program standards. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is one agency with such credentials. That’s one way to know the product you’re buying is proven organic, down the last ingredient.

 

The Top 6 Most Common Landscaping Mistakes

1. Planting in the Wrong Place

A common mistake in landscaping is improper plant placement. People often do not take into consideration the proper sunlight and exposure for the plants they have chosen to plant.

Solution: Read the Plant Tag

All of the plant’s needs for growth are on the tag in the plant holder that you get when you buy the plant or you can check Plant Finder for plant requirements. If you are planting a tree, you need to keep in mind how big the tree could get and how much space it is going to need.

2. Cutting Grass Too Short

It’s a common myth that cutting the grass shorter means you get to mow it less often. By cutting your lawn shorter, you can cause more harm than good. Keeping the lawn too short could result in bare patches which could make it susceptible to diseases and insects.

Solution: Cut According to The Season

The key to a healthy lawn is to cut different lengths depending on the season. During the summer, the lawn should be a bit longer. This will give the lawn a little more shade and the water doesn’t evaporate so quickly. During the winter, cut it a little bit shorter so that the sunlight can reach the soil.

3. Not Fertilizing Properly

There are two ways that fertilizing can be a big mistake. The first one is not using fertilizer at all. The other is fertilizing too often.

Solution: Use Caution When Fertilizing

Ask someone at your garden center or distributor to recommend a proper fertilizer for your yard and plants. A great fertilizer will provide nutrients that your lawn and plants need. You should never do so in the bright sun. It’s also a good idea to mix in fertilizer when planting new plants.

4. Not Accounting for Wildlife

If you aren’t into inviting wildlife into your yard you need to consider what kind of plants you are planting and what animals or garden pests might be around.

Solution: Plant Things Critters Hate

Before you plant in your garden, think about what pests and critters you have in the area. For example, pretty flowering plants can attract deer, so throw in some bitter-tasting ones in the mix to deter them. Once they get a taste of the bitter flowers, they are likely to stop coming around. If there are rabbits around, you may need to form shelter your garden bed by building a small fence.

If you want to invite wildlife, here’s a list to attract a variety of species.

5. Improper Pruning

Pruning can be is more than just chopping off limbs and twigs, it’s a technique. A bad pruning job can be very bad the tree or shrub.

Solution: Research Pruning

Every plant has a different pruning process. Fall and winter are usually some of the best times to prune, but research each plant in your yard to make sure. If you aren’t sure you are doing it right, consult a professional.

6. Irrational Irrigation

A lot of homeowners make the mistake of overwatering or watering during the wrong part of the day. On average, most lawns just need an inch of a water per week.

Solution: Timely Watering

The best time of day to water the lawn (and usually any other type of plant) is in the early morning so it has all day to be absorbed. You can buy a sprinkler with an automatic timer to reduce water waste, or even put in an irrigation system. If you water during mid-day, the water will end up evaporating too quickly.

 

The Top 8 Myths About Gardening

Myth: Newly Planted Trees Need To Have Stakes

It’s often thought that a newly planted tree needs to have stakes for support. This used to be a landscape industry standard but is now known to cause problems. Staking a tree can hinder its development and growth. It’s best to avoid staking unless the new tree is located in a windy area or on a sloped landscape. Not having a stake to rely upon on will allow the development of stronger and more stable roots. If a newly planted tree starts off with stakes for support, once the stakes are removed, the health of the tree could fail.

Myth: Sunshine reflected water droplets will burn leaves

The diffused rays of the sun are not power­ful enough to cause burning. If it were the case that water droplets burned leaves, farmers would encounter huge losses after each daytime rainstorm. In fact, lawn care professionals often cool turf by spritzing water over the foliage during the hottest part of the day. The only time this may be an issue is if you are doing a foliar spray with a fertilizer during mid-day. The fertilizer sitting on the leaves could then cause burning from the sun. Alway read the full label before applying a fertilizer and follow the directions. The best time to water most garden plants is early in the morning because of higher municipal water pressure, a lower evaporation rate, and the potential to reduce foliar diseases. But if you are left with no other choice, watering midday will not harm your plants.

Myth: Add Sand To Break Up Clay Soil

This myth can actually make your soil worse! By adding sand to clay soil will turn the clay soil into a very hard, mortarlike substance. The best solution to break up clay soil is to use a soil amendment. It will help loosen heavy soils because it is light in composition and also improves nutrient quality. Sand can improve a clay soil, but it must be added until it makes up most of the mineral composition of the soil. Then it’s not clay soil; it is sandy soil.

Myth: When planting, dig the hole twice as wide and twice as deep

A planting hole should be twice as wide as the root-ball but not twice as deep. By doing so, you will encourage the roots of a plant to grow out. This will create stability and allows the plant to readily find water and nutrients. In order to make sure that the root-ball is at the correct depth is to have the top roots parallel with the soil surface and then apply 2 inches of mulch over them for a protective cover.

Myth: Drought-Tolerant Plants Don’t Need To Be Watered

While drought-tolerant plants need less water than other plants, they still need to be watered occasionally. The best way to know if your plant needs watering is to feel if the soil around the plant is dry. If the has little or no moisture, water it. Young plants are very susceptible to drought because their roots shorter and smaller and are getting established. Be vigilant about keeping the soil slightly moist, but not soggy.

Myth: Sprinkling Coffee Grounds Around Acid-Loving Shrubs Lowers The Soil’s pH

Coffee grounds are acidic and mixing it into the soil can affect pH. Fresh coffee grounds restrain plant growth because it can tie up nitrogen in the soil as it decomposes. To lower your soil’s pH without causing a nitrogen deficiency or other nutrient deficiencies, purchase a sulfur-based soil acidifier (available at garden centers) and amend the soil by following the package instructions.

Myth: Painting Pruning Cuts Will Protect Trees From Disease and Insects

Professional arborists gave up the practice of painting tree wounds and pruning cuts along time ago. There is little evidence that pruning tar or any other compound will prevent disease or insects from entering tree wounds. Research suggests that painting the pruning cuts actually slows the tree’s natural healing process of sealing cuts with a tough layer of “woundwood.” The best ways to avoid damaging your trees is to make clean cuts with proper pruning tools and prune during late winter when diseases and insects are dormant.

Myth: Gravel in The Bottom of Containers Will Improve Drainage

Instead of preventing root rot, adding gravel to container plants will make it more likely to occur. Water is naturally pulled down through the container by gravity and then the water builds up near the drainage hole. A layer of gravel at the pot’s base serves as the drainage hole and collects water in the same way. So instead of preventing roots from sitting in water at the container’s base, the gravel simply moves the pool of water higher up the pot. The best way to guarantee proper drainage is to use a potting soil made that contains some coarse materials.

By eliminating these myths from your garden practices, your garden will be more sucessful and healthy.

Growing Plants That Will Help Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

Wildlife can help bring your garden to life. Butterflies, birds, and bees entertain us but they also need us to be able to thrive in the local environment. Planting a variety of flowers, trees and shrubs on your property will offer food and shelter to encourage the growth of wildlife.

Incorporate Native Plants

Native plants are plants that naturally occur in the area where you live and are the best for birds and other wildlife. Native plants provide nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Plants provide yummy seeds and fruit for birds and a safe place to nest. Native plants are also a vital part of the ecosystem because native insects feed on native plants. And native birds need those insects to feed their young.

Grow Flowers Rich With Pollen And Nectar

By choosing nectar and pollen-rich plants will attract wildlife. A series of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is best so nectar and pollen will continue to be available throughout the year. If you have a small yard you can still offer a planter with a few well-chosen species of plants. In order to protect pollinators, don’t use pesticides on open blossoms or when bees or other pollinators are present.

Provide Food And Water

Consider adding special feeders to help attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Bees, birds, and butterflies also need a water source. You can install a water garden or a bird bath that will serve as a watering hole and decor for your yard. Butterflies are attracted to muddy puddles and get necessary nutrients, as well as water.

Plants That Attract Butterflies

  • Alyssum
  • Aster
  • Bee balm
  • Butterfly bush
  • Daylily
  • Delphinium
  • Lavender
  • Liatris
  • Marigold
  • Sage
  • Yarrow
  • Zinnia

Plants That Attract Butterfly Caterpillars

  • Fennel
  • Grasses
  • Hollyhocks
  • Milkweed
  • Nettle
  • Thistle
  • Willow

Plants That Attract Hummingbirds

  • Bee balm
  • Begonia
  • Bleeding heart
  • Butterfly weed
  • Canna
  • Columbine
  • Coral bells (heuchera)
  • Cleome
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Fuchsia
  • Hollyhocks
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

 

How To Help Your Plants Fight The Stresses of Summer

It’s officially the first day of summer. While you may enjoy summer, your plants and turf might not. In previous years, have you noticed your plants or turf suffering from the summer heat and drought? This year you can prevent the stress of summer for your plants or turf by applying Mirimichi Green’s Nutri-Kelp.

Mirimichi Green’s Nutri-Kelp (1-1-4) benefits:

  • 100% cold processed Norwegian sea kelp, to release and preserve kelp’s beneficial constituents without harmful exposure to heat or chemical extraction
  • Helps fight plant stress
  • Improves drought tolerance in plants

Nutri-Kelp was developed by combining 100% cold processed Norwegian sea kelp, vitamins, enzymes, organics, and essential nutrients to resolve the soils nutrient deficiencies. Nutri-Kelp liquid fertilizer is less than 400 Dalton size (smallest on the market). This patent-pending nanotechnology optimizes absorption, growing stronger root systems, abundant produce, and richer foliage. Nutri-Kelp’s beneficial nutrients combined with potassium creates a powerful, proprietary formula that optimizes the pH level, protecting your plants and soil from the harmful exposure to heat and chemical extraction. For more information about application rates for Nutri-Kelp, click here.

Click here to find out where you can purchase Nutri-Kelp at a distributor near you or visit Amazon.

5 Ways To Minimize Your Weed Growth

1. Don’t wake up the seeds

There are always weed seeds that lie dormant in the soil. The seeds are waiting for the sunshine to start to germinate or be awoken from a long slumber. To avoid awakening the weed seeds, don’t disturb the soil. Disturbing the soil includes tilling and cultivating. But that seems somewhat impossible when trying to plant new flowers, plants or grass. When planting flowers or plants, sow the seeds above the ground in a small mound of topsoil or compost.

2. Fight the weeds before they sprout

An effective way to prevent weeds is by using a pre-emergent herbicide that will stop weed seeds from ever germinating but won’t kill existing plants and grasses.

The tricky part is determining when to apply a pre-emergent because it must be applied before the weed seeds have time to germinate underground. The best way to know when to apply a pre-emergent is to make note of the date when you see the first weeds in the yard or garden. Then, mark your calendar 3 weeks before that date for next spring and apply the pre-emergent then.

You can also start from scratch by using a non-selective herbicide. This will kill whatever it sprays. It is also recommended to use organic options to prevent harmful synthetic build up in the soil. A great option is Mirimichi Green Weed Control. It is organic, OMRI listed and will show results in 24 hours.

3. Promote healthy plants & grass

If there is healthy grass, weeds will have less room to grow in the lawn. To promote a healthy lawn, reseed bald patches and fertilize if a soil suffers from nutrient deficiencies. By maintaining a healthy lawn, fewer weeds will arise. Nutri-Turf has the ideal balance of nutrients for all grass types and will keep the lawn lush.

4. Keep your plants close

Planting closely together will provide more shade to the soil below, which will prevent weed seeds from getting sunlight and allow less room for weeds to grow. You can usually reduce the recommended planting space on the packaging by about 25 percent. However, most spacing recommendations are based on the prediction that adjoining plants will not touch at their mature size, so follow the guidelines if you are planting plants that are prone to foliar diseases.

5. Create an organic barrier

Spreading an organic barrier around plants will submerge weed seeds and prevent light from starting germination all while keeping your plants cool. Organic barriers are best such as mulches. Mulches can host crickets and carabid beetles, which will feed on weed seeds. To create the organic barrier, spread mulch 2 to 4 inches deep around your plant bed.