The native Island soils are mostly shells and sand. Water retention is a big issue, having the correct kind of organic matter and nutrition is a significant challenge. Barrier island gardening is unlike gardening anywhere else, it is a constant battle. No matter how much fertilizer one puts down if the PH is too high the plant cannot use it. The objective is to acidify the soil, in other words, to lower the PH, bring it down and make the plants more comfortable and so they can use the nutrients one applies. Woody does that by amending the soil and using products that incorporate essential minor elements. Eric was a grower for many years and one very important consideration with every different plant was the correct PH that plant needed to grow. For the most part that was going to be in the 5.2 to 6 ish range. But typically plants wanted to be in the fives to grow. One thing to remember is that when the PH is 7 or higher so many nutrients, especially some of those very important micro-elements are not available. It is really worth the time to take that extra step and determine the PH of your soil. Whether one buys a PH tester or takes a soil sample, then take that to your extension service where they send it off and have it tested, it's important to know what is going on in the soil.
By Justin Hancock, Monrovia Horticultural Craftsman
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
Labor Day may represent summer’s unofficial close but now is a perfect opportunity to add late-summer perennials that will continue to beautify your landcare until fall arrives. click here for an article that identifies 9 perennials for late summer.
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