How Does A Soil Activator Work?

The basis for a healthy garden is the soil. Plants absorb nutrients from the soil and need them to grow optimally.

If you use the soil year after year and do not give it time to rest, it will become increasingly tired. Then a soil activator will help you to wake up tired soil again.

How does a soil activator work and what benefits does its use promise? Learn why the use of a soil activator could also be useful for your garden.

What is the soil activator?

If you grow demanding plants in your garden, they will extract nutrients from the soil and place a high demand on it. Therefore, every year you apply fertilizer to ensure the release of nutrients through the soil.

A fertilizer hardly affects the properties of the soil. It provides nutrients, but the soil continues to suffer from high stress.

In this case, the soil activator comes into play. This is an agent that is not considered a fertilizer. Rather, the soil activator consists of organic substances, such as compost, vegetable carbon, algal lime, clay particles and ground mineral rock.

The composition is relatively similar to a humus soil and relies primarily on naturalness. Nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium are only present in very small amounts. Thus, the soil activator is not suitable as a fertilizer and does not replace it.

The decisive factor for the soil activator is that it is mixed with microorganisms. Various bacteria colonize the soil and create a new soil life. The bacteria feed on organic residues and with a little diligence, the microorganisms can permanently improve the quality of the soil.

Soil activators are naturally kept agents. They do not replace fertilizers, but are applied in combination with them. If you own a compost, then you can also use its soil to enhance the soil. Likewise, it is advisable to mulch the lawn and in this way return nutrients. With this work you will breathe new life into the soil.

If these measures are not available to you and you attach importance to an orderly and tidy garden, then the application of the soil activator is advantageous. Similar to a humus, the soil will regain its natural form and will have better properties to provide plants.

Consequences of permanent cultivation

In the garden, you already rely on some measures to ensure that the lawn and plants grow optimally. You dethatch, prune, fertilize and, of course, water the plants so that they have good health.

The time you put into caring for the plants, you should also spend on your soil. After all, this is the foundation for healthy growth. In modern gardens, where monoculture often prevails and there is little room for naturalness, soils are subject to high stress.

In particular, the humus layer will decline if you do not take countermeasures. But it is in this layer that soil life is found and many microorganisms retreat there.

If the humus layer is lost due to cultivation, this leads to lasting problems. The important microorganisms can no longer be found in the soil and significant quality characteristics suffer.

See also  What Is Making Small Holes In My Lawn
Staunässe - Toter Boden

The soil becomes increasingly compacted and is no longer able to store rainwater. If it rains more heavily, waterlogging forms, which causes the plants to literally drown.

In addition, the waterlogging causes fertilizers and other agents in the lawn to not hold up, but to be washed away. This makes it difficult for you to dose and leads to uneven soil conditions.

The soil activator does not have the goal to achieve an immediate improvement. Rather, it works to enhance the soil in the long term and, with good care, to achieve a permanent improvement.

The fact that the soil activator is needed in the garden is related to the style of most plants today. In nature, the nutrients and microorganisms are added to the soil through organic waste. This includes, for example, the falling leaves, dying plants or other organic matter. This creates a natural cycle in which the soil maintains its high quality.

However, today’s gardens are often so intensively maintained that there the leaves are raked quickly and the lawn must not exceed a certain length. With such care, the soil has hardly any possibility to reach the microorganisms, so the supply by means of a soil activator is necessary.

Effect of the soil activator

The idea behind the soil activator is that you return microorganisms to the soil. With intensive cultivation, the life in the soil decreases. The soil no longer remains loose, but becomes compacted and the humus layer recedes.

With the soil activator you want to restore the natural conditions in the soil. You grow new microorganisms, which multiply and form a new humus layer. Through this, the soil quality is improved and healthy plants grow.

How exactly a soil activator works depends on its composition. Depending on the manufacturer, the ingredients vary, so you will achieve a different effect here.

In exceedingly inexpensive products, the main ingredient is sand, rather than microorganisms. Spreading a lawn sand can be useful to loosen the soil and prevent waterlogging. But for a permanent improvement, such simple soil activators are not suitable.

Promotes growth of important bacteria

High-quality soil activators consist of an organic mass that serves as a food base for bacteria. These are easily digestible and the bacteria will once again feel comfortable in your soil.

Contains trace elements and minerals

In addition, trace elements and minerals are also included, which are important for plant growth. However, the amount is so small that it does not replace a fertilizer.

Soil is more receptive to water and the pH value increases

Another effect of the soil activator is that the soil is more receptive to water. The clay minerals it contains promote the soil’s ability to store water and raise the pH. The clay minerals have a similar effect as the lawn lime and make a slightly acidic soil more neutral again. As a result, both bacteria and plants feel more comfortable in this soil and thrive better.

Formation of a humus layer

Bodenaktivator - Humus

If you use the soil activator, the idea is also that the humus layer makes its way back into the soil. However, you will hardly manage this with the soil activator alone. This has only a small amount of humus and the bacteria will need a long time to produce the desired amount.

Therefore, it makes sense to either incorporate a humus soil or leave a layer of mulch on the soil. Use a mulching mower and leave the grass clippings for a short period of time. Then the soil will be enhanced and the humus will return.

See also  Is It Okay To Cut Off The Flowers Of Sage?

The right application

Have you been convinced by the arguments for using the soil activator? Then you must make sure that you work it in correctly. Otherwise, the effect will hardly come to fruition and the work will not have been worth it.

Are you planting plants or a lawn in your garden? Then you will also find the suitable soil activator for this. They are available in a wide range of variants and thus there are also versions for your soil.

A distinction is made between solid and liquid versions. Mostly solid soil activators are used as granules. These have the advantage that they have solid components, which are important for the enhancement of the soil.

The granules are spread on the soil and are best worked in with a rake. In this way, the granules are not directly blown by the wind and are better absorbed by the soil. You can apply the soil activator either by hand or with a universal spreader. Especially for large areas, it is advisable to apply the soil activator with a spreader. This way you can be sure that no overdosage occurs and that the ingredients are evenly distributed.

As with fertilizer, it is also recommended that you water the soil lightly after spreading the soil activator. This will help the nutrients get into the soil more easily. However, you should be very careful applying the water, otherwise there is a risk that the soil activator will be washed away.

The dosage depends on the particular product you are applying to your garden. For this, manufacturers give direct recommendations and indicate what amount of soil activator the soil needs.

Common amounts are 80 to 150 grams per square meter. Depending on how depleted your soil is, you should adjust the amount. Overfertilizing is hardly possible and damage is not to be expected. However, you should still follow the manufacturer’s recommendations so that you do not apply vast amounts of the soil activator and the costs skyrocket.

The soil activator is a natural product. Due to its natural composition, it is completely safe for children and pets. They can enter the garden without any danger, and you do not have to worry that the soil activator will affect their health.

When is the best time to use the soil activator

Bodenaktivator nach vertikutieren

The soil activator is responsible for the long-term improvement of the soil. Therefore, there is no fixed time window at which the application is necessarily recommended.

The best time for application is in the spring, when you prepare the soil and carry out a new planting. To improve the receptivity of the soil, you can first scarify it and then apply the soil activator.

How often you need to apply the soil activator

How often you apply the soil activator depends on the condition of the soil. If they are heavily scarified, it is best to apply it in the spring as well as in the summer or fall. As soon as temperatures no longer drop below freezing, you can apply the soil activator and prepare the garden for the coming season.

If the soil is ordinary, a single application is sufficient. If the soil is sandy, has a low pH or is of low quality, then twice a year is recommended.

Is scarifying necessary?

With dethatching you remove moss residues and prepare the soil for the coming garden season in spring. In principle, you can apply the soil activator throughout the year. It is not necessary to scarify the soil beforehand. If you want to do the work anyway, then you should apply the soil activator only afterwards. Otherwise, you could use a hand scarifier to remove the granules and the desired effect will not be achieved.

See also  How do you plant Saxifraga?

Which soil activator is suitable for the lawn?

The lawn is considered a monoculture, which is why the soil is deprived of nutrients even more intensively and after a few seasons the soil is hardly absorbent. Therefore, especially for lawns, it is advisable to apply a soil activator.

If you use the soil activator for the lawn, then you should pay attention to products that preferably have a complex composition and contain all the necessary ingredients. Since the soil is subject to heavy use, you should choose a high-quality soil activator.

You can also slightly increase the application rate. Up to 200 grams per square meter is quite appropriate and necessary for the long-term improvement of the soil.

Soil activator or fertilizer – what are the differences?

After reading the guide, you should already have an idea of what the differences are between the soil activator and a fertilizer.

The main task of the soil activator is to provide the soil life with sufficient food again. The microorganisms get enough food and spread more. As a result, the soil appears healthier and a beneficial humus layer is formed. In the long run, nutrients are formed by the application and a higher soil quality is created.

A soil activator is mostly applied in combination with an organic fertilizer. The fertilizer quickly and reliably provides the nutrients that the plants need to grow. It does not change the soil quality, but it is indispensable for the short-term development of the garden.

Therefore, soil activator and fertilizer are often applied in combination to provide both quick and long-term nourishment to plants and maintain a high-quality soil.

The soil activator as a start-up aid

Have you given little thought to the life in the soil and now it appears depleted? Then you probably have not made any attempts to mulch the lawn or apply other organic means.

For such dead soil, Soil Activator is the ideal means to breathe life back into it and restore its natural balance. A new humus layer is formed and the risk of waterlogging is reduced. With proper care, you maintain these high-quality properties and lay the foundation for optimal plant growth.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

    View all posts