Soil Quality and Pest Control: What’s the Connection?

garden pest control

Soil is a storehouse for all the elements that help plants grow: nutrients, oxygen, water, and organic matter. When properly maintained, soil can help plants grow happy, healthy, and strong. When poorly maintained, soil can suffocate plant roots, and lead to plant decay. After more than 50 years of providing pest control in Central Alabama, we’ve learned that healthy soil can make a big difference when it comes to the prevalence of destructive garden pests

Healthy Soil Yields Healthy Plants

Healthy soil results in happy, healthy plants with strong immune systems and unhappy pests. Soil provides plants with vital nutrients and chemicals that promote growth. When soil lacks these components, plants can’t grow as strong––leading to unhealthy plants and rotted roots. 

It only takes a small amount of pest activity to kill off an unhealthy plant. We see this a lot with grass; grass blades that are weak are the first to go when insects like armyworms infiltrate your garden. In addition, many insects inhabit the soil; unhealthy soil makes it easier for harmful parasites and fungi to thrive. Healthy soil that’s biologically diverse acts as a natural barrier against disease and insects that destroy plants. 

How to Improve Your Soil to Deter Pests

So, what can you do if your soil is in poor condition? For a lot of people, going to Home Depot and dropping copious amounts on soil is out of the question. Luckily, there are cheaper ways to improve the health and condition of your soil. Start with these three steps: 

Test the pH level––Soil pH is an important component because it influences factors affecting plant growth: soil bacteria, nutrient leaching, nutrient availability, toxic elements, and soil structure. A pH test will tell you if the acidity and alkalinity levels of your soil are healthy. On the 1-14 pH scale, you want your soil to fall around 7. Levels below 7 are considered acidic and levels above 7 are considered alkaline. Anything that falls between 5.5 and 7 is generally considered healthy. 

Aerate the soil––Aerating the soil is one of the most common ways to boost the health of soil by improving airflow, increasing water uptake, reducing runoff, and making soil less compact. Generally, it’s recommended that you aerate your yard at least once a year.

Pick the right fertilizer––When your soil needs a nutrient boost, fertilizer can help. Again, this is where soil testing can come in handy. There are a variety of fertilizer options, but they don’t work for every situation. To effectively optimize soil health, you need to know what nutrients your soil is lacking, and supplement accordingly. 

We’re not gardening experts, but we can help you keep your garden happy and healthy by getting rid of yard pests. Keep your garden smiling year-round––contact Vulcan Termite and Pest Control to talk to a pest control technician today.