Soil is the primary source of water and nutrients for plant material. Soil also serves as the physical anchor that enables plants to stand upright. If the soil is managed well, plants will be healthy and productive.
The primary soil type in Collin County is Houston Black Clay. While extremely fertile, the composition of the clay, with its small pore spaces, makes it difficult to establish healthy soil for landscape beds. Therefore, it is necessary to alter the soil structure by adding amendments.
For clay soils, consider a one-time incorporation of 3 inches of expanded shale to improve soil aeration, drainage and to make the soil much easier to work. Then incorporate 3 inches of fully decomposed, plant-derived compost. Thoroughly mix the existing soil, expanded shale, and compost into a uniform planting medium. If necessary due to lack of availability or cost, compost alone can be used as an alternative to the expanded shale/compost mixure.
Once the soil has been amended, it is highly recommended that the soil be analyzed to quantify the health of the soil. After an initial test is performed, it is recommended that the test is repeated at least every three years.
Soil Sample Form and Instructions
Always remember to maintain a 4-6" layer of organic mulch over landscape beds. This mulch will eventually compost providing continual nutrition to your plants.
Read more on Earth-Kind® soil improvement.