Vital Blend

microBIOMETER® in Urban Soil Study

Zack Shier, Joseph Tree Service

Effects of Humate and Organic Based Soil Treatments on Urban Soil Characteristics

Zack Shier, Board Certified Master Arborist and Plant Health Care Manager at Joseph Tree Service, is utilizing microBIOMETER® in his study titled Effects of Humate and Organic Based Soil Treatments on Urban Soil Characteristics.

Introduction to the study. Urban soils have long plagued tree care providers with a difficult obstacle to tree health optimization. The very nature of how our urban soils come to be makes it quite challenging to diagnose the major issues with our soils, let alone correct those issues consistently, and with enough efficiency to make it affordable to clients.

When buildings or homes are built in our cities and towns, the natural layout and structure of soils is heavily modified, and often changed in erratic ways. Large holes are dug, bringing soil horizons meant for the deep areas, to the surface; mixing heavily with surface horizons. The top O and A soil horizons are often scraped clean to level surfaces, moving them or completely taking them away. Outside products, like “clean-fill” are often brought in, adding foreign soil or even rock (like quarry, limestone fill) into the surface soil area.

On top of this sub-par growing medium we’ve created, we also plant turf or put asphalt and concrete into most of the area. We then rake up and get rid of all organic litter and material, continually robbing the soil of the reincorporation of organic matter that forests are accustomed to. To add to the problem, urban trees are grown quickly using synthetic fertilizers on tree farms, and then dug up to be planted, cutting anywhere between 50-90% of their roots off, and often planted in different soil than they were grown in.

This entire predicament creates poor chemical, physical, and biological soil characteristics, resulting in poor urban tree growth, increased insect and disease populations, and high rates of nutrient deficiencies. (Read more)