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Soil building and fertility
soil test every 3-4 years and follow fertilizer and liming recommendations.
Ask Extension experts at the Home and Garden Information Center or your local Extension office for help interpreting the results. Fertilize, only as needed, to maintain vigor.
Avoid over-fertilizing plants, as it can lead to pest problems.
Incorporate organic matter in flower and vegetable beds on a regular basis.
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soil basics. Mulches
Apply mulch at a maximum depth of 3" and never against the trunk of a tree.
Maintain even soil moisture.
Prevent weed growth and soil erosion.
Protect plant roots and crowns from winter damage.
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mulch. Manage runoff and pollution from impervious surfaces
Direct water flow away from pavement and toward a well-vegetated area.
Improve existing water infiltration by incorporating organic matter into lawns and planting beds.
Consider using pervious paving options for driveways and entertainment areas.
Avoid overhead watering and splashing soil onto plants.
Water trees and shrubs slowly and deeply. Remember that the root zone can extend out 2 to 3 times the height of the tree, well beyond the dripline. Check the depth of soil moisture after irrigation by digging a small hole or inserting a stick.
Use drip irrigation and soaker hoses where practical.
Remove or mow weeds
Weeds rob plants of moisture and nutrients and are alternate hosts for pests and diseases.
Learn to identify and manage
weeds. Other cultural practices
Prune to increase air circulation.
Avoid accidental root pruning through hoeing and tilling.
Don’t work with plants when foliage or soil is wet.
row covers to prevent pest problems in vegetable gardens. Garden sanitation
Remove and dispose of diseased or infested plant parts and dead plants.
Rake up and dispose of diseased leaves and fruits.
Clean up and compost garden debris in the fall.
Growing healthy transplants
media. Use clean, sanitized seedling flats and plant containers.
Do not over-water.
Acclimatize transplants that are grown indoors by slowly introducing them to outdoor conditions.
Protect new transplants and seedlings from
cutworms and slugs with paper collars.