Improved Soil Evaluation at Wachtel
Written by: Luke Scheberl, Certified Arborist WI-1324A
As a soil scientist, I always get the question, “Why should I have my soil evaluated?”. There are lots of answers to this question but first, let me introduce myself.
My name is Luke Scheberl. I joined Wachtel Tree Science in 2018 after graduating from UW-Stevens Point where I earned a B.S. in Urban Forestry and a M.S. in Soil Science. My graduate research focused on testing and improving urban soils for tree health. Joining Wachtel has been a natural fit for me with their decades of experience and a focus on using science to improve tree health.
Back to our question about soil testing. Picture this. One day your hand starts to tingle, and by the end of the week it is completely numb. You go into the doctor, and they look at your skin and say, “Well there’s a chance it may be your diet, so let’s put you on a multivitamin and see if it helps.” You’d probably wonder why they didn’t order any tests to ensure there isn’t a more serious issue.
Now, imagine your favorite tree in your yard. One sunny summer day you are relaxing outside and notice the leaves on a branch are changing unexpectedly. Before it gets worse you contact your Wachtel Tree Science Certified Arborist. After inspecting the tree, they could be like your former doctor and make a prescription right away, but wouldn’t it be better to do some testing first? That is just what we can do with our new soil evaluation procedures!
Just like with your own health, soil testing is also beneficial as part of a routine check-up. To perform the test, a soil sample is collected throughout the area under the tree canopy. The small soil probe leaves little holes like lawn aeration. Back at Wachtel Tree Science we take several measurements that have been scientifically shown to influence tree health (1).
- So, when should you have your soil tested? It is a good idea to test every couple of years as part of a routine check-up, when other issues appear, or before choosing any new species to plant.
- Will the evaluation destroy my lawn? Not at all. The process actually improves the soil, much like lawn aeration.
- This all sounds good, but how much work is it for me? None when you call Wachtel Tree Science and have us take care of the whole process!
Here at Wachtel Tree Science we are dedicated to keeping trees healthy and beautiful and that requires healthy soil. So next time you contact us about your trees and shrubs, ask if we can evaluate the soil as well.
Scharenbroch, B. C., Carter, D., …, Scheberl, L., … & Siewert, A. (2017). A rapid urban site index for assessing the quality of street tree planting sites. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 27, 279-286.