We do help with specific soil amendments, but we do so on the basis of a soil test, unless we are simply building general resilience and organic matter. We do not believe in providing treatment without diagnosis. Testing provides not only the minerals, but also tells us how well the tree can uptake them based upon the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and pH.
We want to focus on achieving the right % base saturation levels for Ca, Mg and K (calcium, magnesium and potassium) for your particular soil (be it sandy, loam or clay). If the CEC is low, we apply organic matter to build up the soil biology that frees up micronutrients for assimilation. On the other hand, in Long Beach we mostly have a clay soil with a large CEC. That means it holds nutrients well but may require some extra life to loosen it up and allow appropriate drainage.
Depending upon your % base saturation, we may do this with dolomitic limestone, calcitic limestone, carbonized limestone, gypsum or ideally simply through the use of aerobic biology.
If the pH is good, we typically use biology in the form of compost teas, vertical mulching and fertigation. Biology is key to the release of nutrients and comes from allowing the roots and leaves to do their natural process with the support of beneficial life.
It’s also important to note that in the soil, just like in our bodies, certain minerals/nutrients compete and cancel one another out. So applying more of a given nutrient because the plant shows symptoms of such a deficit may not solve the issue if it’s rooted in a poor pH balance, CEC number or perhaps simply the ratio with another nutrient.