On Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:02:54 AM, David Hare-Scott wrote:
They are purchased in a plastic pot. I dig an oversized hole, mix in a litt
le mulch, make a fairly muddy mess, and then try to get the tree adjusted t
o the proper depth. I think I should perhaps try to use a smaller hole, les
s water and no mulch. I can detect voids by sticking an iron rod in the gro
und around the tree. Thanks.
It takes time for soil to settle. Water (as appropriate to your
local seasons), and the soil will settle into any voids.
Is there an actual problem that you are experiencing with your
trees? Or are you just looking for problems while waiting for the
next season comes around? (I've done that more than a few times.)
Drew Lawson For it's not the fall, but landing,
That will alter your social standing
Various dwarf fruit trees; cherry, plum, apricot. Soil here is gray clay. S
ummers in the Midwest US are very dry but I try to water regularly. Deer ar
e often a problem for the trees but when I notice damage I try to wrap them
in plastic fencing. Of the last four trees planted only one is still survi
Planting fruit trees in clay has the risk of drowning them. You dig a hole
in the clay and fill it with permeable soil/mulch. The problem is that the
clay is not permeable and so forms a pond of water which can kill the roots.
The solution is to not to dig down but to build up.
Deer are a problem. Without knowing how badly they have trimmed your trees
I cannot say what effect that had. Perhaps you could wrap them before the
deer get there instead of afterwards.
You haven't said much about conditions. For example do these trees get any
sun? What do you mean by "water regularly", how do you determine when to
water? Do you have any pictures of the dying?
You have deer problems. Prevent them in the first place, don't wait for
damage and then try to prevent further damage. Deer WILL find your
little trees and they WILL attack them unless you prevent that. Parts of
Britain are very illustrative of how effective deer are at preventing
trees from growing, unless the trees are protected from deer when they
Actually, the solution for planting trees in clay is to plant them _in_
clay, not in potting soil in a hole in (nor a pile on top of) the clay.
A tree has to be able to deal with the soil it's going to live in if
it's going to grow - putting it in potting soil tends to make it act
like a potted plant (the roots hit the clay and go in circles, rather
than pushing through it the way a tree grown from seed in the terrible
soil would.) Choose the smallest/youngest bare-root trees you can
get/find/order, sift the soil dug out of the hole to break up clods and
plant the tree in the hole with the soil that came out of the hole. If
the situation permits, working a whole row with a tractor-drawn
subsoiler may be a good initial preparation technique. A bit difficult
in the average backyard, though - but renting a small excavator and
digging a trench for several trees, rather than a hole per tree, may
work out. Away from the immediate planting zone you can simply put the
clods back in the trench and let time sort them out, rather than sifting
them as you should where you are actually planting. Be sure to call
dig-safe and know where anything they would not know to mark
(sprinklers, your yard-light wire, your septic pipes...) is on your
property before trying that. If you can add a drainage pipe in the
bottom that leads somwhere that the water can drain to, so much the
Certain rootstocks are also better suited to clay soils. For full-sized
cherries, "Mazzard" tolerates clay better than "Mahaleb" - in dwarfing
rootstocks there will be various rootstocks of other names, and some
will be better, some worse, in clay or "heavy" soils. If your vendor
doesn't tell you what the rootstock is, choose a different vendor. You
might also need to vary to fruits (such as pears or apples) more
generally tolerant of clay; but the right rootstock can make a big
difference (or, the wrong ones just up and die in clay...)
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
...many good comments snipped but worth re-reading...
also if you can find books at the library written by
Sepp Holzer, his fruit tree methods aim at getting a
very hardy fruit tree growing. once you've digested
those give Masanobu Fukuoka a read as he also aims
at growing natural fruit trees that do not need so
many gadgets and high maintenance. both of these
people have spent their lives learning such things,
so they are worth a read and consideration in contrast
to the usual commercial fertilizer/pesticide fare
you'll likely get in most standard gardening/lawn-
of course, both may not apply to your climate but
at least it's good reading. :)
and the other comment i forgot to add in my
heavy clay soils benefit from added organic
matter, but for establishing an orchard or other
more permanent planting i would not go very far
in digging in materials. instead i would contour
the area properly so that the trees will not be
waterlogged, but then i would put the trees in
place and mulch them well including to be sure
to add enough green stuff to the mulch layer so
that worms will find it and begin to make trails
for the tree roots to follow down in search of
water and nutrients.
years ago someone asked me what i would do to
plant a tree in heavy clay in his front yard. i
took one look and i said, "trench it down about
a foot in a half in a star pattern out from the
hole for the tree. make sure to have at least
one of these trenches drain into a ditch so the
tree won't waterlog. fill the trenches with
some topsoil and some added wood chips and other
organic materials including a long release
fertilizer, this will encourage the tree roots to
spread out and travel along those trenches."
now i think that's overkill. nature/worms can do
the work if you give it plenty of top mulch and the
tree has time to get established. plant a good
diversity of cover crops around the tree and keep
it protected from deer, trim away any cover crops
that block too much of the sun, but a little shade
is ok if the summers get really hot. other than
that, don't water too frequently, preferably don't
water at all (the tree should suit the climate), if
you do have to water, water deeply (but not too much
all at once).
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