Soil - Don't Treat It Like Dirt

It Starts With Healthy Soil
Know Your Soil
Care For Your Soil
Protect Your Soil

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Protect Your Soil

After you go to the trouble of enriching your soil, make sure that your work doesn't go to waste.

  • Protect your soil structure. Go easy with the rototiller-overtilling can damage your soil's structure and porosity. And if you're building a new structure or an addition, remember that heavy equipment can compact your soil. Avoid moving equipment over tree root areas, which causes long-term damage to trees; if you can't, use a mulch (6 inches of wood chips or 4 inches of 3/4-inch crushed gravel) to help cushion the roots and soil.
  • Fight erosion. Keep your pampered soil on your property. During the winter, plant cover crops such as vetch, field peas, or barley in your garden; they'll keep your soil from blowing away, protect against compaction from winter rains, and might even add to your soil's nitrogen level (if you choose a legume or other nitrogen-fixing plant). Also, put a buffer of non-cultivated vegetation between your yard and any surface water (see Lakescaping for how-to information) to trap sediment and to filter fertilizers, pesticides, and sediments from stormwater.
  • Help your friends help you. Earthworms, birds, bees, and beneficial insects are susceptible to many pesticides, including weed killers. Instead of automatically reaching for a bag of weed-and- feed or a jug of bugkiller, use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to keep your garden pests in line. See The Ten Most Un-Wanted Pests for more information.

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Lake Whatcom Cooperative ManagementWSU Whatcom CountyWhatcom County IPM
For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736
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