CONSERVATION CORNER: It all start’s with soil.

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Many people enjoy designing attractive landscapes around their homes. These areas may be dominated by lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, or vegetable gardens. To protect the financial and time demands of these efforts, gardeners must first understand the specific soil conditions in their yard. How well does the soil hold (or drain) water? Is it sandy or mostly clay? What is the soil chemistry? Determining the alkalinity or acidity of the soil – measured as pH – is also key. Understanding these basics, is essential before plant selections are made or landscape designs are implemented. As a garden progresses, the gardener needs to know about fertilizer needs, weed, insect and disease control options, efficient watering plans, and other care strategies. These gardening decisions will ultimately affect, and possibly alter, garden soils over time. Planning for your garden ahead of time will save you money and effort in the future by ensuring that your soils improve over time instead of becoming nutrient depleted or havens for weeds, insects, and diseases.

How can you learn to make good decisions to build productive soils in your yard? An Extension Agent or Certified Master Gardener can visit your yard and make recommendations. Contact Linda Masters at the Extension Office (970) 878-9490 to obtain a soil test kit or to schedule a consultation. Download CSU fact sheets at: If you prefer to learn about how all these factors interact for yourself, consider joining the Colorado Master Gardener Program. “Soils, Fertilizers & Amendments” is the first of 14 weekly Master Gardener Classes offered.

CSU Extension is, once again, offering Master Gardener classes to Rio Blanco County residents. CSU specialists and gardening experts have developed an on-line curriculum that will be paired with weekly, live, interactive labs.

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