Desert Soils ~ A Fun and Amazing Journey Underground


“Desert Soils ~ More Than Just Dirt!”

Presented for the meeting of the

Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley


Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 | 6:00 pm

 A Presentation by Robin Kobaly | Exec. Director of
The SummerTree Institute

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018
  • Presentation 6:00 pm
  • UCR Palm Desert
    75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211
  • Free admission

    A serene landscape of boulders and sand, right? You won’t believe everything that’s going on underground!

You will be amazed to discover all the incredible underground happenings  in our desert soils that affect not only how our gardens and wild plants grow, but also how our ecosystems function.  “Desert Soils – More Than Just Dirt” is a presentation that just may make you believe in magic — well, at least help you to realize all the nearly mystical relationships that are going on underfoot which control so much of what we see above ground.

Robin will describe the other-worldly underground root partnerships (mycorrhizal fungi associated with plant roots) that help most desert plants survive, and why added fertilizers can damage that relationship. You will learn cutting-edge research about how these root partners form caliche to assist in our desert soil’s sequestration of CO2, and how what we plant can help reduce global CO2 levels. We will explore ancient biological soil crusts, and see how they come alive after rain, cementing our soil grains together to prevent erosion. Join Robin as she unravels complex systems in understandable terms, including the conversion of gaseous nitrogen in the air into soluble fertilizer in the ground by soil microbes; ancient desert pavement; desert varnish on rocks; hydrophobic desert soils (and how that affects how we irrigate), why deep water stakes are so effective to keep landscape plants healthy when soils are hot and dry, and some other cool stuff like the green algae that grows under our translucent desert rocks. You may never walk the same over our desert soils…

For more information, call The SummerTree Institute at (760) 363-7229, or email:

You may also visit the Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley at for more information.


Check out our other events and workshops!