Tips from Mark Burton: Soil Conditioners

Here in Southwest Virginia, thick and compact clay soil dominates yards and gardens. Clay soil, while amendable to many native species of plants, can give gardeners and landscapers trouble when it comes to adding new plantings. Clay drains slowly, has trouble absorbing water and nutrients, and it becomes compacted more quickly than looser soil. That’s why soil conditioners like compost and fertilizer are so essential to healthy, green lawns and gardens. Without them, we probably wouldn’t be able to grow many of the plants and grasses we see on a daily basis.

Sandy Soil

Photo by Kitty Terwolbek.

What is a Soil Conditioner?

A soil conditioner is any substance added to already existing soil that changes the soil’s properties, whether by altering nutrient levels, PH balance, or any other factors that affect the growth and health of plants. Soil conditioners were created to improve inadequate soil conditions or help repair damaged soil. Roanoke Landscapes uses soil conditioners to provide a “blank slate” of sorts for gardening and landscaping projects. If our clients’ natural soil is difficult to plant on, we’ll add soil conditioner to improve the chance that our plantings will come up strong and healthy year after year.

Our horticulturist Mark Burton has used a variety of different soil conditioners during his tenure at Roanoke Landscapes, but there’s one he keeps coming back to again and again. Profile soil amendments are the best on the market, he says. Unlike other kinds of soil conditioners, Profile’s soil conditioner changes the structure of a client’s soil permanently. Mark finds that using Profile makes soil healthier and heartier, which, in turn, leads to faster plant growth and less water and nutrient wastage. Profile helps soil retain moisture while reducing draining and leaching. It can also reverse the effects of soil compaction and erosion. Mark likes to use Profile to help grow new grass on lawns that have experienced significant wear and tear over the years. It makes old lawns feel new again, he says.

For landscaping contractors who regularly work with clay soil, Profile provides quick and impressive solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. A high-quality soil conditioner like Profile makes impossible goals attainable by changing the very foundations of soil composition. Mark recommends Profile for both contractors and homeowners who are looking for a soil amendment that really, truly works the way it’s supposed to. There’s plenty of disappointing gardening products on the market these days. Profile, Mark says, is not one of them.


As a bonus tip, Mark would like to remind all spring procrastinators that your final chance to prune spring flowering plants is NOW. If you wait any longer, you’ll be damaging 2018 season flowers. Get out there soon, especially while the weather is relatively mild!


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