A soil conditioner, also called a soil amendment, is a material added to soil to improve plant growth and health. The type of conditioner added depends on the current soil composition, climate, and the type of plant. Some soils lack nutrients necessary for proper plant growth and others hold too much or too little water. A conditioner or a combination of conditioners corrects the soil's deficiencies. Lime is used to make soil less acidic, as is lime-containing crushed stone. Fertilizers, such as peat, manure, anaerobic digestate or compost add depleted plant nutrients. Materials such as diatomaceous earth, clay, vermiculite, hydrogel, and shredded bark will make soil hold more water. Gypsum releases nutrients and improves soil structure. Sometimes a soil inoculants is added for legumes.
Unless clay is incorporated into a healthy crumb structure, water may bond to it too strongly to be available to plant roots.
Importance of Soil Conditioners
• Compost allows the soil to hold more water. • Compost allows the soil to breathe better. • Compost helps to hold the soil together to reduce erosion. • Compost helps to maintain the best soil pH for plant growth. • Compost provides nutrients for healthier plants. • Compost provides healthy microorganisms in soil that will help fight microorganisms that cause plant disease.