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The Secret's in the Soil

Understanding The Critical Key To Water Management

Water conservation has become one of the hottest topics in the landscape industry in recent years. While solutions such as more efficient irrigation systems and drought tolerant plant selection are widely offered, most landscape professionals do not properly consider the important interactions between water and soil.

From turf to flowers, shrubs, and trees, Davey’s success is most often measured by the quality of the plants and the overall appearance of the landscape. Water is one of the most critical biological variables for plant health. Everyone knows too little water causes plants to wilt and die, but too much water causes equally serious problems. So what’s a key ingredient to properly manage and conserve water? Understand the soil.

“I like to call soil the savior of the landscape because a healthy, thriving soil sustainably provides nearly everything a plant needs. But, soil needs proper water delivery to make all this happen,” explains Larry Cammarata, horticultural sustainability consultant with Certified Consultants Ltd. When it comes to water in the landscape, more is not necessarily better. If more water is applied than can be properly handled by the soil, oxygen is driven out, roots die, and plants struggle. We need to understand the soil in order to properly manage irrigation. By understanding the triangle of plants, soil, and water as an interrelated whole rather than treating each element independently, commercial property managers can significantly reduce water costs and have a healthier, more resilient landscape.


Davey Commercial Landscape Services is offering specialized Water Management Audits in select markets this year. Intended to help our clients create a healthier balance between soil and water on their properties, the audits assess a number of important site elements affecting water and soil health. On a typical site, Water Management Audit recommendations can reduce a site’s water consumption by 40-60%, says Cammarata. “If you follow through it can pay for itself in 2-4 years. In the end, you have a healthy, thriving, sustainable landscape.”

Contact your Davey representative to see if water management audit services are offered in your area.

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