Stormwater – From Waste to Resource

Historically land development projects were designed with the objective of maximizing the built space within both the building footprint and the parking area, with little consideration given to much else. As the built environment has grown over the history of our country we have seen urban flooding events grow in both regularity and destructiveness.

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Now that land planners, engineers and architects have learned the negative repercussions of what too much impervious surface can do during a storm event, much care is being taken to ensure proper ecological storm water management tools are implemented in most new building projects.

Passive storm water capture systems like rain gardens, bio-retention basins, bio-swails and tree pits are all tools that prevent surface run off from leaving a site.  At the same time these features filter and clean the water and infiltrate it back into the natural ground water system.

These biological storm water capturing tools can actually enhance the aesthetics of the landscapes for the buildings and even qualify the builder for LEED Certification Credits.

Stormwater Basin containing custom designed Laurel Valley Soils at Philly’s Central Green at the Navy Yard

Central Green at the Philadelphia Navy Yard

The steady and methodical reinvention and redevelopment of the Philadelphia Naval Yard is at the center of Philadelphia’s burgeoning tech economy.  While the beautiful turn of the century campus provided a great canvas for new buildings and landscapes it also proved to have a host of challenges.

First, the entire landmass is man-made, built from river dredge and mainland soil spoils.   Mix in concern over soil contamination from the years the naval base was in full wartime operations, and the fact that below this less than desirable ground is a high water table containing brackish water, and the challenges of this site would have made many developers take a pass on the project.  But not Liberty Property Trust!  They saw the vision of this site, knew the potential and acted boldly.

In order to ensure a successful and functional landscape for the Central Green public landscape project, Soil Scientist Tim Craul was brought in.  He determined that higher quality functional soils were needed and would have to be imported to the site.  He specified a two-layer soil system containing a course drainage layer located below a finer, slightly more organic surface/planting layer. Together the soil layers work to support plant life, while also maintaining optimum soil moisture and filtering and infiltrating storm water.   Working closely with Tim Craul through a rigorous testing process, we were able to create and manufacture soils that met these criteria.

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Before and After by C. Caramanico and Son at Central Green at the Navy Yard

Our longtime client C. Caramanico and Sons performed the installation.  Over 3,000 yards of Laurel Valley custom soil was spread to create a six acre park-like setting integrated with a state of the art storm water management system.  This area, referred to as a “social space” is used daily by employees of the various Naval Yard businesses.  The landscape is a beautiful sanctuary for people to enjoy, play in, and unwind amongst aesthetically pleasing yet functional bio-swales and rain gardens seemingly hidden right before your eyes. The award winning landscape was designed by James Corner Field Operations, most recognized as being the Project Lead on NYC’s famous High Line, and is a wonderful example of what the future of urban storm water management is all about.

Sports Turf: It’s All About Recovery

Whether you are a Golf Superintendent, Sports Field Manager, or Homeowner with a passion for a beautiful lawn, topdressing with Laurel Valley Soils STA-Certified Premium Compost may well be the solution to getting the turf you dream of.

Cool season grasses, which are typically grown from Delaware northward, benefit tremendously from a dose of compost every fall or spring, often in combination with aerating.  Adding organic matter-rich compost provides a myriad of benefits, as shown in the video below.

 

Have questions?  Call us!  866-LVSoils

Tomorrow may be Memorial Day, But TODAY is “National Learn About Composting Day”!

 

friendship, summer vacation, freedom, happiness and people concept - group of happy female friends dancing and jumping on beach

So to help you celebrate, and to provide great Memorial Day Party Conversation Topics, Here are 5 Awesome “CLICKS ABOUT COMPOST”!

  1. How does COMPOST help SOIL?
  2. How does COMPOST give your neighbors LAWN ENVY???
  3. Composting 101—a Five Minute Overview
  4. Healthier Plants, Less Watering, Less Disease??? Tell Me More!!!
  5. I want some compost! Where can I get it???

And we wish you a very happy and safe Memorial Day, too!

Just think–with all your party scraps, it may be the perfect time to start your compost pile!

Want LAWN ENVY??? Apply STA-Certified Compost!!

Do you know how the best looking lawns in the neighborhood get that way?

According to Joe Lamp’l, host of Growing a Greener World, it always begins with a generous topdressing of STA Certified Compost!  It’s the most readily available, economical, and stabilized form of organic matter on the market today.

Joe Lamp’l discusses how to topdress your lawn with compost in the video here:

 

 

Why Choose Laurel Valley Compost?

Like Top Chefs, We Know That Quality Ingredients, Blended Perfectly,

Create MASTERPIECES!

Portrait of a female chef preparing a dish carefully

Compost can be derived from many different types of materials, including yard trimmings, food scraps, leaves, manure, and post-harvest mushroom compost.  In the previous two blogs, we discussed why you should use compost, and why you should use STA Certified Compost.  Here, we are going to explain the benefits of using post-harvest mushroom compost from Laurel Valley Soils.

Many types of compost are made using whatever unused products are available at that time, sort of like when your Mom would make soup from all the leftovers at Thanksgiving.  Creating Laurel Valley Soils Compost is more like baking your Great Grandmother’s famous, award-winning upside-down carrot, macadamia and bourbon cake.  It requires using only the finest ingredients and carefully following the recipe, as there are high expectations on the line!

Because our compost is initially created to grow fresh mushrooms, we follow a strict formula containing only the highest quality, purchased and inspected ingredients including hay, straw, recycled horse bedding, cocoa shells, poultry litter, corn cobs, and gypsum.  After the crop of mushrooms is complete, we take back the post-harvest mushroom compost, let it compost down some more, and then upcycle it as premium compost or repurpose it to create enriched topsoil.

So why should YOU specifically select Laurel Valley Compost? What separates LVS from the crowd?

  • STA Certified: which means it meets the quality and consistency requirements of the US Composting Council
  • PA Certified Organic
  • Stored indoors.
  • Screened and Dry
  • Consistent recipe = consistent reliable performance
  • DNREC and PennDOT Approved
  • Punctual delivery for wholesale clients
  • Widely distributed through garden centers for homeowners

At Laurel Valley Soils, we specialize in providing the exact product you need, including creating custom engineered soil blends.  Whether you are looking for straight compost, compost-enriched topsoil, or blends for bio-retention basins, rain gardens or any other need, we have the skill, expertise and experience to meet all your project requirements.

The Secret Behind Pinterest-Worthy Gardens

Smiling blond woman in the vegetable garden.

Think Gardens Like This Only Exist on Pinterest???

Not So! The simple, not so secret, secret ingredient behind robust gardens is COMPOST!

And don’t worry—if you don’t make your own compost, you can buy Premium STA Certified Compost at your local Garden Center.

Adding compost to soil provides the following benefits:

  • Increases the organic matter content of your soil
  • Improves soil structure allowing for both better percolation and moisture retention.
  • Adds organic nutrients
  • Stabilizes pH
  • Improves disease resistance
  • Supplies beneficial microorganisms, bacteria and fungi
  • Increases soil’s cation exchange capacity, helping the plant to absorb more nutrients from the soil

As a reminder to apply compost to improve the health of soil and the plants it grows, The US Composting Council has developed the “Strive for 5” Campaign.

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Most native soils contain between 1-3% organic matter, which is too low to grow!

Increasing SOM (Soil Organic Matter) to 5% or higher provides the benefits outlined above, and creates the ideal conditions to grow beautiful and healthy lawns, turf, flowers and vegetables.  And to top it off—applying just 2” of compost in lieu of the traditional 6” of topsoil can reduce project material cost by up to 2/3!  Now you know why it is referred to as “Black Gold”.

To celebrate the beginning of International Compost Awareness Week, (ICAW), here is a cool video featuring Joe Lamp’l, host of Growing a Greener World, discussing the benefits of using compost in your yard.

Need Help?  Have questions?  Have photos of you compost projects?  Contact Us!

At the Radnor Hunt Races, We’re Focusing On What You Can’t See!

So here we are—publishing our FIRST BLOG!  I am Suzanne Longacre, Marketing Champion for Laurel Valley Soils. I am extremely lucky to be able to utilize my passion for marketing and writing every day here at Laurel Valley Soils, and it is my goal to create interesting and useful blogs to help you grow awesome plants, grass and businesses.

I have thought A LOT about what topic is most deserving of our inaugural post. Should we provide an overview of the Laurel Valley Story, or discuss the many advantages of using compost to increase soil’s organic matter? Or do we feature a case study about one of our awesome customers who are doing remarkable things for their soil and their communities? But as I over-pondered this, and as life often works, the perfect topic literally fell into my inbox.

Wait for it…wait for it…

Radnor Top Dresser

Now at first glance, I am SURE you are thinking— WOW— that is one beautiful pile of compost!

And thank you for that—we appreciate it—but the beauty of our “black gold” is not the focus here.

See, this rich, gorgeous compost is being applied to the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase race track for its Annual Event on May 21, and there are extremely high expectations as this course consistently rates a 10 out of 10 from the National Steeplechase Association, and there is $185,000 prize money on the line.

Steeplechase tracks are judged on performance, as the safety of the horses and riders is of utmost importance. For the best traction, the track must have just the right balance of firmness, (not too hard and not too soft), and requires deep rooted turf to prevent both slippery surfaces and divoting. The grass must also be resilient enough to withstand the continual beating and wear caused by the 6 races that take place throughout the day.

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Photo Credit Jim Graham

Charlie Fitzgerald of Grass Management, Inc. has been managing this track for over two decades. Every year, five to eight weeks prior to the race, he aerates the soil and top dresses with Laurel Valley Compost to provide organic matter, nutrients and beneficial microbiology. These components help to make the turf more disease resistant while reducing compaction, improving drainage, and encouraging deep root growth. Deep roots allow for better absorption of water and nutrients, while holding the turf in place during the brutal hammering it gets from the horses’ hooves.

Grass Management Inc. Applying Laurel Valley Soils Compost to Radnor Hunt Races Track 2016

So this is why Charlie’s story was the first one we wanted to tell. Many times, turf amendments are applied for the end result of making turf grass look beautiful. But here, the focus is actually on what you can’t see. It’s all about the healthy soil and turf relationship that ensures the prize winning horses and their riders are protected on the big day. The fact that the track looks beautiful is a bonus!

Going to the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase? Bring your #CompostCam and post your pics to our Facebook page! We would love to see them!