The Q&A Archives: Soil Amending

Question: I've read and heard conflicting info re: amending the soil...amend vegetable and flower beds but not individual trees or shrubs bc their roots will be

Answer: In my experience, both would be correct. With flower and vegetable beds, the intensive cultivation usually means amending with organic matter whenever feasible is a good idea. With trees and shrubs however the roots soon extend beyond the original planting hole, so it is important that the plant be well suited to the native soil. In this case, amending can be counterproductive if it changes the soil in the hole drastically from the surrounding soil. If the change is extreme, sometimes the roots will not extend beyond the hole and the plant becomes rootbound. Sometimes too, if the amended soil drains differently from the surrounding soil, the hole can collect excess water at the bottom and work like a sump to flood the roots. So, generally one would not amend the soil much if at all for backfilling around newly planted trees and shrubs. I hope this helps.

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