I am interested in using one of these trees (?) in our landscaping. We just
finished building the house, so we will be starting from scratch. We would
like to use this spruce as a specimen plant near the front of the house.
The area where this planting bed will be located is 100% sand right now. We
are going to have several loads of topsoil delivered and placed into the
planting bed. We are unsure how deep we need to make the beds. Is 12" of
topsoil over top of the sand enough? or does the topsoil need to be deeper?
how deep? These beds will are not intended to be raised, but flush with
the surrounding lawn. Therefore we have to dig out the sand and fill with
topsoil. When the house foundation was being installed, we found it
necessary to raise the grade about 6' around the house due to the high water
table in the area. This 6' of foundation backfill is all sand. That is why
we have to fill in planting beds with topsoil. But how much we don't know.
There will also be a foundation planter all the way around the house that
also need to be filled with topsoil before we can plant any shrubs or
perrenials. How much soil do we need in this bed? Again, is 8" to 12" OK
here? this bed will be mostly shrubs such as boxwoods, yews, dwarf
conifers, perrenials and a few annuals.
Can trees grow succesfully in 100% sandy soils, with just a few inches of
topsoil, as long as there is adequate moisture? Due to the high water table
in the area, moisture shouldn't be a problem.
any info is greatly appreciated,
I think that 12 inches in minimal. I would go with more - maybe 24 or 30
inches. Also, If you intend to grow shrubs and perennials, I would find out
exactly what "top soil" means from your supplier. Sometimes it is horrid
stuff. Most likely your supplier has a variety of soils available. The
place I get soil sells top soil, super-soil, perennial mix, and well as all
the components needed to amend soil. They will mix large loads to your
specifications. I had to trench out a ditch along one side of my house for
utilities. I discarded the heavy clay soil and replace it with 24 inches of
super-soil. One the other side of the house I had a landscape company plant
a bunch of shrubs. I won't home when they did the work. They said they
would amend the soil and add soil to correct the grade. What ever they did
it was minimal and the health of the plants shows it compared to the ones
grown in the deep super-soil bed that I put in.
I'll go 36" down around the area that the spruce will go. I will probably
only go to 24" in the rest of the beds where other smaller shrubs will be
going. I have used this top soil supplier on smaller projects before and
have not had any complaints about their soil. The hydroseed contractor we
hired also recommends them. They sell an ammended top soil and then their
standard screened topsoil. I planned on using the ammended soil in the
flower beds and the standard screened topsoil for the other tree/shrub/rock
beds. I had planned on ammending the soil around the planting site of my
larger trees and shrubs with compost as we planted them.
thanks for the info.
According to the huge and unwatered Norway spruce across the street from me
the answer is yes. I would be most concerned about locating your specimen
in the higher filled area of your yard as Norway spruce, while generally quite
tolerant of soil conditions, will die in wet soils.
You might be better off removing only a little of the sand and tilling in
rather than carting so much sand off for topsoil stripped from who-knows-where.
You could be bringing in a host of problems (like nutsedge and horsetails or
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
I have parts of my backyard which are 100% sandy with a few inches of
topsoil, and there are elm, maple, hickory, oak, as well as a variety
of shrubs and fruit trees. I too have a high water table. On the wet
side of the yard there are the same trees in the wetland woods in the
back of my yard. Needless to say, all fruit trees, the oak, and the
hickory are on high ground.
Your problem is not so much the sand, because over time the tree mulch
and leaves will give you enough humus levels, as much as the high
water table. I have two japanese maples, twenty feet apart and one is
one foot lower than the other. They are both mulched with wood chips 8
feet out. The lower one is a sickly thing, and the other one is a fine
tree. Your spruce may not like wet feet either, so choose your spots
and plants carefully. You can always kill any tree by having lawn all
the way to the trunk, taking away all the leaves, and not mulching to
mitigate the large fluctuations in temperature and moisture that sandy
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