Dr. Bruce (as he is known locally) is a horticulturist with over 30 years of experience. He is also the host of "DownEast Gardener" which appears weekly on our local NBC station. If you've read his articles or seen him on TV you are already aware, this guys really knows his stuff.
I contacted Dr. Bruce and he was extremely helpful. He immediately identified what should have been my 'first step' several months ago with, "Have you tested your soil?"
I responded with enthusiasm and confidence, "Yes, many times. We tested the soil when we built the retaining walls, we tested the soils when we were bringing in loads of fill dirt, we tested the soils before we built the roads, and we've already tested the soils for the Marina House foundation!"
To elaborate on my own ignorance, in the construction world we test soils for stability before building ON them. In the horticulture world, you test soils before planting to see what's IN them.
Dirt is dirt, right?
Not exactly. So after scientifically collecting random samples (no metal shovels or buckets), filling tiny little boxes along with completing a few forms at our local arboretum and (for FREE) the good people at the State's Department of Agriculture did a REAL soil test of our dirt and posted the results online about two weeks later.
The report? Not good. Even Dr. Bruce was slightly alarmed.
"Where in the world did this soil come from? It is very atypical of soils I usually see in this area"
Strangely, I was a bit relieved. I had been trying to grow grass on this site for almost two years so at least I found comfort in knowing "it wasn't me."
Dr. Bruce was undeterred - his recommendations were delivered with detail and authority. He outlined a prescription of fertilizer and seed that would make the surrounding sites green with envy!
"What do I owe you for your time?" I respond.
"Ahh, how about a bottle of good brown liquor?"
I am grateful that we have someone with his knowledge and resources living right here in Wilmington willing to help our neighbors in a time of need. Thanks Dr. Bruce!