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Everything you ever wanted to know about soil in your garden

Helen Tuton, soil scientist

Helen Tuton, a soil scientist with an abundance of knowledge on our local soil types has provided an insight into the ins and outs of identifying, working with and improving the soil you have in your local area and own garden. 

City West Water services nine municipalities across Melbourne, all of which are located in areas of Basalt Plains. There is significant variation in soils within areas of these local government areas.


The region has relatively rich soils as the result of lava flows from volcanoes in the north and west of Melbourne over the last million years. These lava flows pushed various streams, including the Plenty River, Darebin Creek and the Yarra River, up towards the hills in the northeast and east of Melbourne.

What soil type do you have?

The soils are heavy clays, easily waterlogged and often have many lava rocks on or close to the surface. These soil characteristics do not support trees well through extended drought periods because of their immense absorbing capacity. The soils can be made up of 25% water. When these soils dry out, air replaces the water and major cracks form. Plant root tips in the cracks will dry out quickly too.



To assist you in discovering what soil type you might have in your backyard and how to work best with what you have, try our soil and rainfall calculator or read our articles on – 

CWW0159_SoilFunctionality_Icon[1]2Soil and rainfall calculator tool – Find out your soil type, yearly rainfall in your area and great

           tips to improve your soil.  

 There's lots of ways you can improve your soil




Information in the soil series articles provided by Helen Tuton

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