There’s a special feeling you get when you gaze out onto a beautifully landscaped yard in Texas—flowers, plants, grass, and trees all coming together in harmony. Whether you are creating a new landscape design following a construction project or maintaining the one you’ve had for years, it is important to know how Texas soil may affect your landscaping.
Here at Landscape by Design, we will break down different factors in Texas soil that can play a role in landscaping. With landscaping, there are so many variables at play. It is a smart move to consult with an expert early on when you don’t know something, and save yourself from a hassle later.
Types of Soil in North Texas
Texas is a big state, so it’s only logical that there are many types of soil in it; in fact, there are over 1,300 types of soils in Texas. For the sake of brevity, we will be focusing on North Texas, for example, the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In North Texas, these are four of the most common types of soil, and how to test for them:
- Loam soil – Loam soil is slick, smooth, and somewhat gritty and sticky. You can form it into a ball, which can easily crumble.
- Clay soil – Clay has a smooth and sticky feel to it. When you press it between your fingers, it will develop into ribbons.
- Sand – Sand is loose and highly gritty. You cannot form a ball with it, as it will fall apart.
- Silt – Silt won’t cause your hand to get stained. It has a soapy and slippery (although not sticky) feel to it.
How to test them:
- Use soil with a moist feel, as opposed to a dry or wet feel.
- Take a ball of soil and squeeze it in your hand.
- Proceed to press the soil you are holding in between your fingers and thumb.
Clay is the most common type of soil in North Texas.
Soil Quality in North Texas
Depending on the type of soil you have, it can have a range of characteristics, along with strengths and weaknesses, that you will need to contend with when creating your landscape. In addition, different soils are better suited for different types of plants.
Loam soil is made up of multiple types of soil – usually around 50 percent of it will be sand, 30 to 50 percent will be silt, and 10 to 25 percent will be clay. It is generally great for gardening, as it can contain a lot of moisture. It also drains well, allowing a sufficient amount of air to reach the roots of plants.
North Texas clay soil isn’t the easiest to garden with. A low water infiltration rate combined with a low water drainage rate means that if you are not careful, you could find yourself easily overwatering and drowning out plants. To keep the clay from cracking, it is crucial that you maintain an even moisture level. To do this, all irrigation needs to be supplemental to rainfall. Also, you need to utilize the cycle and soak watering method for the optimum water absorption rate.
Cycle and soak watering – cycle and soak watering is a type of irrigation that involves watering your lawn in brief bursts so that the water has time to absorb into the clay.
Because of its low nutrient level and trouble holding water, growing plants in sand is very difficult. Plants in sand must be watered and fertilized frequently. However, due to its lack of water-holding capacity, it is great for a drainage system.
Caution: be careful when handling fertilizer chemicals. They present a danger to animals and humans.
Silt can lead to erosion problems, especially when your garden is on an incline. Mulch, as discussed below, can help you prevent erosion. Like clay soil, silt can hold a lot of water. However, pure silt does not have any organic matter. It needs to be added in, for example, through compost.
Ways to Help Your Soil
There are several ways to go about improving your soil organically:
Organic mulch can include things such as plant debris and waste from your yard. Organic mulch will need to be reapplied every few years.
Some of the benefits of mulching include:
- Fewer weeds
- Less soil water loss
- Helps prevent erosion
- Moderates the temperature of the soil
- Better soil fertility
- Helps protect plants from diseases
- Reduces soil compaction
Compost consists of things like kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, leaves, and fruit rinds. Compost can benefit clay soil. In addition, it is an environmentally-friendly way to fertilize your soil.
Some benefits of compost include:
- Helps keep moisture in the soil
- Helps to attract worms
- Adds helpful microbes
There is a lot that goes into landscaping, and it helps when you have professionals to guide you. If you’re in or around the greater Fort Worth area, Landscape by Design can help. We know the area and can help you make the most out of your North Texas soil. Let us design a beautiful landscape that will bring out the best of your property.
We provide a wide range of services to get the most out of your landscaping. Some of these include:
- Landscape design
- Patios and decks
When you’re ready to take your landscape to the next level, schedule your free consultation.