Effects of Subsoil on the Lawn

Soil quality is crucial in the maintenance of one's lawn. Although topsoil contains the most nutrients and organic matter, good subsoil, located below topsoil, is needed to help provide plants with vital nutrients. Identifying the type of subsoil found underneath one's lawn can make it easier to care for the vegetation.

Why is Subsoil Vital to a Healthy Lawn?

The most important aspect of subsoil is the way in which water moves through it. For instance, clay-heavy subsoil will stay waterlogged. This means that clay retains water for a long period of time. Water retention is critical when it comes to maintaining healthy soil; however, having too much water in one's soil may cause plant roots to rot.

Unlike clay subsoil, sandy subsoil loses water quickly. While this makes it easy for soil to drain water, plants may be unable to obtain the necessary nutrients. For this reason, it can be challenging to keep a lawn with sandy subsoil watered during periods of drought. Understanding subsoil when setting up an irrigation system can ensure that you make the right decision regarding lawn watering.

Identifying Subsoil

It's relatively easy to identify the type of subsoil found below your lawn. To do this, dig a 1 inch diameter core of soil at least 8 inches down. By looking at the soil core, you will be able to identify whether it's a sandy, rocky or clay soil. It's important to note that clay soil is very sticky when wet. Once you've discovered your lawn's subsoil, you'll be able to choose the best method for watering your lawn.

How to Correct Subsoil Problems

Unfortunately, it's difficult to dramatically change the quality of subsoil because there's anywhere from 4 to 12 inches of it below soil level. However, if you're subsoil is poor, you can aerate the lawn once a year and rake compost into the holes. Since soil microbes can naturally improve soil quality, avoid excessive use of fertilizer and pest control products.

Although plants can benefit from subsoil, it can also adversely impact the health of one's lawn. If subsoil is hindering your lawn's ability to flourish, several gardening techniques can be used to improve soil quality. For example, installing a French drain can help lawns grow on top of clay hardpan. More frequent irrigation, addition of compost, and feeding may be necessary for lawns growing on very sandy subsoil. Using a mulching mower can also help with these types of soils.

If your lawn is suffering from poor subsoil quality, you may want to consult a professional lawn care company before beginning soil treatment.

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