The Q&A Archives: Floss silk tree -how to plant

Question: I live in coastal San Diego. My soil is clay alkaline with poor drainage. I have read that this tree needs good drainage and acidic soil. Is there a way to make this work? Mound in extra large hole? Best amendments?

Answer: The best solution would be to build a raised bed and plant your mimosa tree there; failing that, you can amend a large area and plant your tree there. If you amend only the planting hole, the roots will remain close (where the soil is nice) rather than exploring out into native soil. These roots can eventually girdle the tree and kill it. So, choose a sunny spot for your tree and amend a large area - 10' in diameter if possible - by rototilling the soil to a depth of 12-18" and working compost or peat moss into the entire area. After the area has been prepared, rake it level and dig a hole for your tree. Make the planting hole slightly deeper and wider than the rootmass. Plant your tree and backfill with the amended soil, watering it well after planting to help settle the soil. You can then use the prepared bed for additional flowers and shrubs, or you can sow grass seed or plant groundcover. Best wishes with your new tree!

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