BLUE MOUNTAINS BOTANIC GARDEN MOUNT TOMAH
To better understand the natural soil landscape and receive guidance on the management of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah spectacular gardens, the Garden engaged SESL Australia. The scope of work included on-site soil surveys, laboratory testing and a soil management plan. The soil management plan outlined strategies to reduce soil compaction without harming the existing flora and fauna.
Characterising soil behaviours advises a better approach to sustainable management and amelioration (amendments). The SESL soil scientists conducted their investigation to evaluate physical characteristics of the soils (texture, structure, colour and water holding ability).
During the soil chemistry analysis, it is essential to understand the fertilisation requirements to prevent the plants from the risk of toxicity or deficiency and potential loss of species.
The typical soil in the area is stony, well-drained Ferrosols (Kraznozems). However, occurrences of Rudosols (structured loams) and Lithosols on crests and localised steep slopes were present. The soils found at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah show a spectrum of change from inherently natural undisturbed or minimally disturbed condition in the unaltered forest areas to a highly altered hortic anthroposol condition in the raised display beds.
Findings from SESL’s investigation captured each of these different attributes, and based on observations and laboratory analysis, provided an improved management strategy to overcome soil and plant issues such as compaction, waterlogging, pest infestations, nutritional deficiencies and inverted profiles.Happily, the majority of the soils found at the Garden were in good condition and were representative of the natural Mount Tomah landscape with only minor modification needed to suit the planting types.An annual soil testing program is essential to understanding the requirements of each individual landscape.
It is essential to understand the fertilisation requirements to prevent the plants from the risk of toxicity or deficiency and potential loss of species.
SESL identified cost-savings on the fertiliser program by only feeding the plants that need feeding rather than those that that were previously assumed to need it.
This project is an excellent example of where a soil management plan can reduce time spent on troubleshooting plant issues by having data that efficiently addresses any deficiencies or imbalances. The outcome will be a more resilient, stronger and healthier plant species and reduced loss and replacement of plants for this significant Garden.