I just bought potted Bing Cherry and Asian Dwarf Pear trees (both
about 5 feet tall). The kids in the garden center had no clue at what
type of soil is best. I just know that if I just plant in regular top
soil mix, they will die (as did other trees I tried to plant). Can
someone please tell me the correct top soil/peat moss/etc ratios. (I
know about the good drainage needs already).
Thanks a lot,
In broad terms, MAWD. Moist, slightly acidic, well-drained. If thery're
going in the ground, pick a spot in full sun with ample drainage, and amend
well (I would amend liberally with oakleaf mold, if they were mine, and in
my soil conditions, for example.
Ron , the current favored (these things change with time) horticultural
practice is NOT to amend planting holes. Assuming you are planting directly
in the ground and drainage is good, the existing soil is preferred over
amended soils. One reason is that there will exist a change in texture
between amended and non-amended soils, creating drainage issues. A second is
that non-amended planting holes will encourage the tree to extend its feeder
roots more quickly into the native soil rather than soaking up all the
goodies in the amended hole and venturing no further. This results in a
stronger and more well developed root system. The only caveat to this is if
your existing soil seriously lacks fertility (test to make sure first), in
which case you can add organic matter (no peat moss) at a ratio no more than
25% of the backfill, but my preference is to mulch with organic matter
rather than to add anything to the planting hole.
Any amending should be done over a large area - ie., a brand new planting
bed - so that the soil texture and composition over an entire area is
amended, rather than just a planting hole. I doubt your previous trees died
as a result of merely poor soil quality - trees (and other plants) are
immensely adaptable and will grow as long as sunlight, water and basic
nutritional needs - present in even poor quality soils - are met. Of these,
water is the overriding factor for new plantings. Water deeply and often for
at least the first two growing seasons and any other time rainfall is
pam - gardengal
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