What Is Ericaceous Compost?
Ericaceous (also known as “eru”) means “of or pertaining to the earth” and refers to any type of soil with high levels of organic matter. When referring to soil, it’s not just about what kind of dirt it is made from; rather, it’s also about its composition. There are many types of soil, but there are two main categories: clay and silt. Clay soils tend to have low amounts of organic matter, while silt soils tend to have high amounts of organic matter.
The most common type of soil is called loamy or sandy because they’re composed mostly of sand and other fine particles such as gravel or crushed rock. These types of soils are often referred to as “loose” or “loamy.” Layers of these kinds of soils are usually found in areas where water drains quickly. Such places include streams and rivers, ditches and culverts, and drainage ditches.
Another type of soil is called limy or clayey because it contains large amounts of clays like limestone, basalt, chalk, or gypsum. These types of soil are also referred to as “clay.” Layers of these kinds of soil are more likely to be found in areas that contain swampy or marshy plants and animals like bogs, mires, peat bogs, sloughs, quagmires, pocosins, and palustrine wetlands.
These two categories make up the main types of soil. They’re divided into subcategories like loamy sand, loamy sand with gravel, sandy clay loam, sandy clay with muck, and many more. All of these types of soil contain minerals like the most popularly known calcium, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
Ericaceous soil is a loose-textured type of soil that’s mostly made up of silt and sand but also has a high content of organic matter. It is a mixture of silty clay, loam, or sandy loam. It has an acidic nature and drains well. This type of soil is common in areas that contain plants like cranberries, blueberries, and rhododendrons.
What Are Ericaceous Compost?
When talking about ericaceous compost, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that it’s mostly composed of deciduous plants that contain ericaceous roots. These plants are found in wet acidic soil and need nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus to grow. The most common types of ericaceous plants are blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries, flame azaleas, and rhododendrons.
Most plants need lots of organic matter to thrive. In most cases, this means using fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to help the soil. In acidic soil, however, the organic matter is part of the soil rather than something that’s added to it. This means that ericaceous plants need ericaceous soil rather than just any type of soil.
There are many types of plants that do best in ericaceous soil. Most plants that grow in acidic soil are wildflowers, small ornamental flowers, and low-growing groundcovers. Such plants include (but are not limited to) blueberries, cranberries, bilberries, cowberries, azaleas, mountain laurels, rhododendrons, huckleberries, and fireweeds.
Soil that contains ericaceous material has a lot of essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. This type of soil is found in areas with acidic soil and plants with ericaceous roots. It’s also important to note that the nutrients in this type of soil vary due to the type of plants that are native to the area as well as climate conditions.
In the garden, ericaceous soil can be created by adding 1 part peat moss, 2 parts loamy soil, and 1 part coarse sand to the area where the plants will be placed. This mixture should be blended together and then watered. This creates the perfect growing conditions for most ericaceous plants.
This type of soil should only be used in places that have acidic soil and a low pH (between 4.5 and 6.5).
Sources & references used in this article:
Compost-based growing media: Influence on growth and nutrient use of bedding plants by M Grigatti, ME Giorgioni, C Ciavatta – Bioresource technology, 2007 – Elsevier
Compost utilization in landscapes by HB Hornick, LJ Sikora, SB Sterrett – RP, 1984 – US Department of Agriculture
Modern potting composts: a manual on the preparation and use of growing media for pot plants by R Alexander – Compost utilization in horticultural cropping …, 2001 – books.google.com
An investigation into the reactions of biochar in soil by AC Bunt – 2012 – books.google.com
Fungal slime and its role in the mycorrhizal amelioration of zinc toxicity to higher plants by SD Joseph, M Camps-Arbestain, Y Lin, P Munroe… – Soil Research, 2010 – CSIRO
Soil pH explained by HJ Denny, I Ridge – New Phytologist, 1995 – Wiley Online Library