Amendments

Amendments are defined as substances that are added to soils to improve the growth of plants or the general health of the soil. We sometimes refer to them as "conditioners." Some people believe that it is required to use amendments but to be completely honest, amendments are not required for all grasses. Amendments are legally by definition, a fertilizer. Fertilizers are defined as soil amendments with a minimal amount of nutrients in potash, phosphate and nitrogen. Organic fertilizers are soil amendments that are produced from natural resources with the absolute minimum amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Organic soil amendments are used sometimes to use what a majority of people would call useless products such as livestock manure or dead leaves into compost for improving their soil.

external image Jepson-WCS3279b.jpg
external image Jepson-WCS3279b.jpg


The selection of your Soil Amendment:
(First you must choose whether you want to use a organic or inorganic amendment... Organic amendments will come from a live or was alive plant while inorganic amendments come from something that was man-made. Your organic conditioners will help increase soil aeration and water/nutrient holding capacity. Inorganic are focus on increasing the growth rate.)
The first and for most single component you should consider during the beginning of your selections for a soil amendment is desired results. You will want to increase your nutrient holding ability and improve your water intake. The next thing you will want to ask yourself is, "How much is this soil amendment going to improve my soil over time?" You will have to if the longevity of the product benefits the use of the soil amendment in the over all category.
-Over Amending: Over Amending is a potential problem when you are not a familiar with soils amendments from past experience. Over amending can result in low nitrogen, holding of too much water, and multiple other things. It is important to do your research before ever using a amendment or seek help before starting the use of a amendment in your soil.

external image Pine-soil-conditioner.jpg
external image Pine-soil-conditioner.jpg


Examples of Soil Amendments:
Plant hormones:
-Auxins: Auxins are simply plant growth hormones. They develop a healthy plant body by improving the growth and behavioral process.
-Abscisic Acid: Abscisic Acid is know for plants that loose growth during times of stress. This plant hormone discourages the hormones that diminish the growth during a stressful time and able it to continue to grow.
-Cytokinins: This plant hormone was discover through the us of coconut milk in the 1940's during a scientific experiment. Cytokinins advocates the division of cells which produces cell differentiation and the aging of leaves. This produce should be used for cool season grasses during the early fall. One more fascinating thing about this hormone is that is has the potential to advance the root regrowth in a damaged root.
-Gibberellins: Gibberellins also promote cell division which helps with the installation of growth at lower temperatures.
Biostimulants: Biostimulants are not fertilizers but some call them soil doctors. These increase soil microbial activity which will later cause the increase of soil tilth. These to affect will create a healthy natural way for a plant to grow to its full potential.
Humates: Humic Acid(HA) is in all organic matter. HA contains Carbon, Hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. This combination will enhance the growth of roots and shoot growth. The most beneficial soil is soils with low organic matter such as in areas with hot and humid/semi-arid climates.
Seaweed Extract(SWE): Seaweed is the number on main ingredient in most biostimulants because is contains cytokinin, auxin, carbohydrates, and amino acids. SWE's are also found in many food in the asian world as well in ice cream and animal feed.

external image 52128-39.jpg
external image 52128-39.jpg
external image Organic_Fertilizer_Soil_Conditioner_.jpg
external image Organic_Fertilizer_Soil_Conditioner_.jpg


Quick over view:
Soil conditioners are soil amendments which are added to soil to improve the over all health of physical properties. The most important ones to use are amendments that will certainly increase the nutrient holding and increase water capacity. For a soil amendment to be at its full work, it must be mixed into the soil and if its is fully buried, it will not be at its full effectiveness.
Now lets define the difference of fertilizers and soil amendments. Not all soil amendments are fertilizers, fertilizer are important for the supply of nutrients to soils. Plants will need these nutrients from the soil to promote healthy proteins and carbohydrates. Soil amendments are only mixed in the top soil to allow plants to grain a healthier soil to help with plant growth in ways that a normal soil with out any amendments can. The purpose of a amendment/conditioner is to help a soil that has a lack of nutrients so that plants that are grown in that soil will actually have a chance to grown to their full potential. One simple example of a soil conditioners is that they will moderate the supply of nutrients to a plant.

Here is one example of the use of a soil amendment called TerraVive. This picture shown on this website link shows the same plant, planted twice in two separate pots to show the use of TerraVive and how much it truly helps with the growth of plants. One pot has a much more healthy and more produced plant than the other because the one on the right had the help of TerraVive and the one on the left didn't which is easily seen because it is less healthy and has not grown as much as the one on the right.
external image octet-stream.png Soil Conditioner and Soil Amendment - Natural Solution for Poor Soil.webarchive
This product is also relatively cheap and you can read more about what all is contained in TerraVive when you follow the link above.

More helpful information can be found on the following by click on one of the following links:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07235.html
http://www.gardenguides.com/104692-use-soil-conditioner.html
http://www.gardeners.com/Building-Healthy-Soil/5060,default,pg.html
http://www.ccwater.com/files/soil.pdf


Pictures:
http://www.californiagreensolutions.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=294
http://gardeningwithconfidence.com/blog/helens-haven/rock-garden/
http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/113104686/Organic_Fertilizer_Soil_Conditioner_.jpg
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/soil-amendments.html