Why We Choose Wood – Soil Science
When you look at a Kellogg planting mix, garden soil or potting mix you may notice its texture tends to be more "woody." Admittedly, many other soil mixes don't look this way. While this may look and feel different, we promise our products grow great plants, in addition to the benefits wood provides.
Better Soil Structure
So why do we think wood is so important? For starters, wood does amazing things for the physical characteristics of soil. While the little bits of wood in our products are small, soil particles are even smaller. If there is not enough different particle sizes in any given stretch of soil, the soil will become compacted and water and air will have a difficult time penetrating beyond the first few inches. The slightly larger size of wood particles force soil particles apart, allowing water and air to travel down away from the surface and towards plant root systems. That is why it is critical to mix soil amendments or planting mixes with your native soil rather than using them “straight."
Those little spaces create storage pockets for water and air that plants need to thrive. Adding just 5% organic matter (one heaping shovel-full per one sqft.), to native soil can help that same soil hold 20% more water!
Better Soil Environment
Though you can't see it with a naked eye, those tiny pieces of wood are chocked full of wonderful microorganisms that will promote an abundant diversity of life in your soil. We think good organic gardening is all about building life in the soil – which in turn, promotes a sustainable garden full of thriving, healthy plants.
Not only does wood come with its own beneficial organisms, it helps feed the organisms already in your soil. Wood is high in carbon, which is an ideal food source for nitrifying bacteria. You may have heard that wood particles can actually deplete the soil of nitrogen. This is true—only when applied by itself. We always properly age our wood fines and incorporate plenty of nitrogen to prevent any nitrogen depletion.
The end result is a vibrant soil environment that supports stronger, more disease and pest resistant plants. Isn't that grand?
Wood is a renewable, local resource. Thanks to modern foresting practices, trees are grown for their wood the same way that a field can be planted with orange trees. In fact, we often buy wood and plant material that come from orchards close to our manufacturing plants.
Additionally, we often buy wood that is headed to the landfill for whatever reason. Maybe it was sawdust from a sawmill, or post-consumer wood material. Why throw something away when it can be repurposed in a way that is hugely beneficial to the environment?
Organic gardening is about building life in the soil that will also benefit the larger environment – your garden, your neighborhood, your community. Using wood fines in our soil amendments, planting mixes and potting mixes to benefit the environment is just one example of how Kellogg is focused on sustainability. Check out what else we have to say about not just lessening our impact on the environment but restoring and rejuvenating the world around us.