Did you know Caretaker Landscape is currently developing the single largest land development project in Arizona?

Digging in the Southwest can get rocky.  In preparation for construction mobilization Caretaker Landscape ran into some rough terrain in the West Valley.

Taylor Morrison purchased 351 lots within the Tierra Del Rio community from Pulte Group in 2012.  Caretaker is developing the landscape infrastructure and managing the landscape at Tierra Del Rio for Taylor Morrison. Currently, Tierra Del Rio is the single largest land development project in Arizona.  In preparation for the development, a test dig was conducted where excavators were used to dig up several parts of this mountainous site. Caliche was found on the test dig in some of the soil at Tierra Del Rio.


What is Caliche?  Pronounced (ka-lee’-chee) is a sedimentary rock, a hardened deposit of calcium carbonate according to Wikipedia.  This calcium carbonate cements together other materials, including gravel, sand, clay, and silt.  Caliche is made up of soil deposits that have become cemented and rock hard over time layered like lasagna.  This concrete-like material can be several feet thick.


Caliche runs in veins that can be up to 15 feet deep.  Breaking apart or removing Caliche from the soil is the most practical way to handle the physical problems associated with it when it comes to landscape construction and planting. Caretaker Landscape’s Development team recommends digging holes three times the size of the root ball if you run into caliche while planting.  Solid chunks of caliche should be removed from the soil.  If good drainage can’t be attained then the soil can be added to increase the depth of soil available.  Clean backfill and good drainage are also key components to planting in soil that has caliche.

Caliche can cause plant growth issues for 3 reasons:

  1. Caliche restricts root development
  2. Caliche restricts water drainage
  3. Caliche has a high pH balance and creates iron deficiencies in other plants. This most likely impacts non-native plants.

Caliche can be problematic landscape maintenance, “because it is soil that had been cemented together by lime resulting in a lack of soil nutrient mobility or root anchorage by plants.  It also limits the percolation of available water between soil profiles often resulting in sub-soil rotting of the existing root systems of plants or trees.”

It seems that the metro Phoenix market is recovering and buyers are searching for the right home.  Caretaker Landscape is at the forefront of the development of many of the Valley’s premier up and coming communities developing responsibly and sifting through some rocky soil.