Colorado Soil and Landscaping: What You Need to Know

Colorado has a rich and colorful geography, as most of the Southern Rocky Mountains are located within the state. In addition, the western edge of the Great Plains and the northeastern portion of the Colorado plateau are also in the state named for the Colorado River. Colorado means “ruddy” in Spanish, and the early explorers named the river after the red silt that is carried in the water from the mountains. Colorado has a unique geography that includes mountains, plains and ranges.


Colorado Soil Conditions

Colorado has with many beautiful natural formations, but the state is not blessed with rich soil. Colorado has little rainfall compared to Eastern states, which means there is not as much of the deep, dark topsoil found in the east. Because there is little vegetation in Colorado, when it does rain, there is considerable erosion, further degrading the top soil. In many areas, the soil in Colorado is heavy clay. The soil is often red, derived from igneous, sedimentary and volcanic rocks that existed in the area thousands of years ago. These Colorado soil conditions can sometimes present problems for landscapers who are not familiar with its properties.


Landscaping with Colorado Soil

Custom landscaping with Colorado soil requires special treatment of the soil to encourage vegetation growth. Many Southern Colorado landscaping experts recommend adding organic matter in order to help break up the soil and allow for water or air to penetrate. Although some people believe that adding sand can provide better drainage in the clay soils of Colorado, it requires that between 50 to 80 percent by volume be added to make any difference. Colorado also has high pH in the soil, and this is difficult to correct. Some recommend using acid-forming fertilizers like aluminum sulfate, while others suggest using sulfur, which combines with the hydrogen in the soil, but this method has not been proven effective.



The most important part of custom landscaping with Colorado soil is plant selection. Consider the plant’s hardiness, the region of the state where it will be planted as well as the size and type of plant that will best enhance the landscape. Because Colorado consists of several different hardiness zones, choosing plants that match the climate is critical to keeping the landscaping looking beautiful and healthy. A qualified, experienced landscaping company can offer advice on which plants to choose and what to do to maintain those plants so that they remain healthy even when the temperatures outside are brutal.

Southern Colorado landscaping experts have the knowledge and expertise to guide any landscaping project. Contact a qualified landscaping professional to answer any questions about landscaping as they will be a valuable asset throughout the project.