Texas‌ ‌Soil‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌101

Soil stores all the elements a tree needs to grow – water, air, nutrients, and organic matter. It also provides root support, enabling the tree to withstand strong winds, surface runoff, and other harsh weather conditions that may cause it to fall over. When properly maintained, your soil will continue to grow healthy, strong, and highly productive trees forever. 

Texas soil is complex due to the wide range of climatic conditions experienced in different parts of the state. More than 1000 types of soil are recognized here, each with specific properties and characteristics that affect its use. In this post, we dig a little deeper into the soil in Texas to help new gardeners know what to plant, where. 

Texas Soil Types 

Texas gardeners must work with a wide variety of soils; some are sticky clay, some are very sandy, and others are dry, rocky, and shallow. Sticky, clay soils retain too much moisture and do not allow adequate circulation of air. Sandy soils, in contrast, do not retain enough moisture, and in areas that receive strong winds, blowing sands can injure young trees and shrubs. 

To grow lush and healthy, most trees will require deep, well-drained soils with sufficient organic matter. The best soil for planting your trees will be the type that has proper moisture and doesn’t harden when pressed in the hand. It should break and crumble easily when squeezed between fingers and should not crust over when dry. 

Seek the advice of a tree service Texas professional if you are not sure what type of soil you have in your garden. They will perform the appropriate tests to determine what trees to plant in your area and suggest ways to prepare and improve the soil before you plant.

What Kind Of Soil Is In Central Texas?

Most areas in Central Texas have black and reddish clays. These are deep and dense and pack tightly into a thick, heavy mass. If you are looking for the best trees to grow in Austin, Waco, San Antonio, or any other place in Central Texas, consider those that thrive in poorly drained soils.  The magnolia, American holly, Southern red oak, Texas ash, and bur oak would be a great place to start. While these still prefer well-drained soils, they have been found to thrive in poorly drained areas too, making them perfect for Central Texans. 

The best part about clay soil is that once it has absorbed water, it retains it, keeping your trees moisturized for longer periods. It doesn’t wash away easily either. The bad news? In hot, dry months, clay soil shrinks, dries up, and hardens like concrete, leaving huge cracks in patios and gardens. 

Clay soils can be identified by the following: 

  • Deep soil profile; solid rock is rarely present 
  • Wet soil is completely difficult to remove from tools
  • Soil feels like pottery clay when you press it in your hand

Why Is The Soil Red In Texas?

The red Texas soil obtains its color from an iron oxide mineral called hematite. Other minerals like goethite, maghemite, and hydro-magnetite are responsible for yellow, brown, and gray-green soils respectively. In each of these cases, the type of mineral present depends on the soil conditions in which the oxide is formed such as water content, temperature, the presence of organic matter, etc. 

Hematite, the mineral from which red soils are formed, is produced in high-temperature soils that have plenty of oxygen. Generally, iron oxides are a great part of the soil composition. Because of their colors, they have a significant impact on how different soils look like. 

How To Improve Soil In Texas

Whether you are planting fruit trees, ornamental trees, or shade trees in Texas, your soils must be well-prepped to ensure proper growth. One way to do this is by adding organic matter. Organic matter improves the soil and makes it workable by:

  • Loosening tight clay
  • Making soil easier to dig 
  • Enabling sand to retain more water
  • Adding essential nutrients

Poorly maintained soils are one of the major causes of tree fungus in Texas – cool, wet soils, for instance, have been found to promote the germination and spread of fungal spores. Improperly kept soils also kill the essential nutrients a plant needs to boost its immunity, which puts it at risk of pests and diseases. 

The Local Tree Experts Overview 

Understanding Texas soil can help residents not only grow healthy trees but also produce nutritious vegetables year-round. But there are many varieties of soil in Texas, hence, gardeners should consider enlisting the services of an expert to effectively identify their soil type and what to grow on their property. A professional will also offer advice on how to prepare and improve the soil to make sure it is giving the best yield.

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