New Home Owner

Asked June 30, 2018, 3:41 PM EDT

I am a new Home owner. I know the house burnt down and I live in the new construction. Can that effect the soil? I want to start off with a herb garden to repeal flies and mosquitos from our outside lounging area. We have deer, squirrels, and I think moles. The deer eat our flowers day lilies. The squirrels eat the acorns, and I am stepping into the it is hollow under neath. Is this a good place to plant or should I be looking for a better home?

Oakland County Michigan

3 Responses


Soil burned by fire has less organic matter, microbes, nitrogen and phosphorus. If you are concerned with residues from building materials left behind, I would bring in new soil and grow edible plants in raised beds, or grow in containers filled with potting soil. Flowers and other ornamentals should be fine in your soil amended according to a soil test recommendation.

Have a soil test done to see what your basic nutrient levels are, and your soil organic matter and pH. The MSU Soil test Self Mailer is available here- or at MSU EXTENSION-Oakland County, 1200 N. Telegraph Rd, build 28East, Second floor. The cost is $25 and includes a postage paid mailing box. The results will recommend fertilizer and other soil amendments based on what you are growing.

Testing for toxins in soil is expensive. There is no general toxin test, you must pay for each toxin individually. The MSU Soil Lab has a separate charge for arsenic and a separate charge for lead testing. Other toxins must be tested by another lab.( search online for “soil toxin testing labs”).

If you have an area on your property with 8+ hours of sun not affected by the burn, that would be a good alternative for a vegetable garden. Soil test that area separately from the burned soil area.

Wildlife is always an issue for gardeners. Besides deer, rabbits, chipmunks and groundhogs will probably be an issue. Some areas can be fenced, and ornamentals near the home can be sprayed with repellents which are reapplied after rain. Choose perennials from the lists of ‘deer resistant’ plants that also match your sun and soil conditions. Here are some links to get you started-

I hope this info is helpful. Thanks for using our service.

Thank you. I will start reading the articles. The area is mostly shaded and its hard to grow things. There is not enough sun.