Healthy Soil Resources
Healthy soil is the key to a healthy environment! Smart landscaping practices are essential to maintaining a healthy soil. Native plants, reduced fertilizer use, and an overall consciousness of soil quality are all important factors to becoming a key player in the health of the environment around you. There are many excellent resources throughout New Jersey that will help give you a better understanding on how to maintain quality soil, as well as how to make gardening and landscaping much simpler and environment friendly.
Rutgers University – New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
The Ocean County soil Conservation District is an excellent source of free soil health information, but there are many more throughout the state of New Jersey. Rutgers University Soil Testing Laboratory is a service unit that offers chemical and mechanical analyses of soils for the residents of New Jersey and for Rutgers University researchers. After sending Rutgers a sample of soil from your lawn, they can provide you with exactly the amount of fertilizer you should apply as well as other healthy soil tips that can help you reduce your negative impact on the watershed.
Another resource provided for the residents of Ocean County is the Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Ocean County. The Cooperative Extension provides a wealth of information about natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, the economy and various other important information from New Jersey. The Extension is also the hub for many environmentally conscious volunteer groups including the Master Gardeners and the 4-H clubs.
Natural Resource Conservation Service
The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service interprets soils information, makes the information available in useful formats, provides technical assistance, and promotes the use of soils information. The NRCS has a New Jersey Division, focusing primarily on the resources available to New Jersey private land owners, both for agricultural and personal benefits.
Please visit the NRCS Soil Health:Unlock the Secrets of Soil website for a variety of different interactive resources, including movies, checklists, fact sheets and many other informational tools.
Soil Health Fact Sheets
The NRCS has also published five different Soil Health Fact Sheets, each providing information for specific land uses.
The PDF for each is available below:
Soil Health Conference
In 2012 the Ocean County Soil Conservation District partnered with the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts and the Barnegat Bay Partnership to organize the Soil Health Conference: ”Sustainable Opportunities through Soil” hosted at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ. The main goals of this conference were to raise awareness of the importance of healthy soil in infrastructure as well as ignite conversation between a wide variety of professionals, ranging from lawn care specialists, to professors, to life-long soil scientists. The conference was an enormous success. Please find more information about the 2012 Soil Health Conference here.
Sustainable Soils Brochure
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers is committed to the principles of sustainability as the foundation for collective landscape design practice. Healthy, appropriate soils, sustainably generated and maintained, are key to a strong, diverse ecosystem and are essential for a successful planting design. This brochure will help provide an understanding of the properties of soil, as well as techniques to maintain a healthy and sustainable landscape.