Soil Myth Busting for Extension Educators: Reviewing the Literature on Soil Structure and Functionality
Volume 12, Issue 2 - December 2019
Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott
View/Download Full Article
- Soils found in home gardens and public landscapes usually bear little resemblance to the original soil. Native soils are formed through centuries of interactions between climatic factors, local environmental factors, and the biological components of the soil. In contrast, soils found in developed areas (called “urban” soils throughout this article) are often distinctly layered, compacted, and artificially amended. Commercial topsoils, which are often called designed soils or landscape fill, bear little resemblance to natural topsoil as they generally contain abundant organic material and sand but relatively little topsoil. Unfortunately, many gardeners and landscape professionals are unaware of these differences and how they affect soil functionality and plant life. This lack of understanding, combined with popular soil management practices and products, can create soil conditions that are injurious to soil and plant life. In this article we deconstruct four common soil management myths and offer better methods to manage urban soils sustainably.