Soil amendments are any material used to improve soil aggregation. It also ensures that the ground remains porous and permeable. Thus, increasing aeration and proper drainage. It also extends the tree's rooting depth, providing the trees with a better environment to grow.
To ensure that it'll work, you need to mix the amendment into the soil thoroughly. Neglecting to do it will only cause your amendment to be less effective. Even more, it'll only hinder the water and air from passing through.
Amending the soil is entirely different from mulching, too. Although most materials used for mulches also pass for amendments, the process of mulching only leaves the material on the ground's surface. Also, its primary purpose is to help prevent evaporation and weed growth.
Soil amendments have two primary categories. These are organic and inorganic. You can resource organic amendments from materials that came from a living organism. Meanwhile, inorganic amendments are either artificial or mined. Organic amendments come in various forms. One of them is wood ash, which contains high levels of salt and pH. Using organic amendments helps boost soil organic matter content. Also, don't attempt to add clay soil into the mix, or else you'll end up with a concrete-like soil structure.
Using raw manure could potentially increase the risk of crop contamination from foodborne illness pathogens. According to Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, it's best to apply it at least 90 days before harvesting your crops. Also, ensure that the fertilizer doesn't touch the soil. Meanwhile, those parts that come in contact with the ground have to get harvested after 120 days of contact. Aside from using raw manure on your field, it's also essential to consider the manure that may get in your field through wildlife animal intrusion or runoff.
Another option that you can consider as a soil amendment is composting. The process of composting animal manure effectively decreases the growth of microbial pathogens. Thus, saving your fruits and vegetables from contamination. You need to ensure that you maintain the compost's temperature between 131 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 64 hours if you're using an enclosed system or 15 days if you're using a windrow system. As the materials continue to compose, you need to ensure that you mix the composting material at least five times. Once it's complete, you can then wait for it to cure for 45 days. Once it's done, you should cover the compost pile to prevent recontamination.
Keep a record of everything
These are only a few of the things you need to think about when learning about soil amendments. Same with any other tree service, it’s always essential to create a recordkeeping document to ensure that all soil amendment applicators get adequately documented.
The documentation should include the soil amendment type you used, date of application, and quantity applied per acre. These are crucial, even when you're planting a tree next to your edible garden. Doing so ensures that your tree will have ample root growth so that it can thrive.