The Q&A Archives: Working Wet Soil

Question: I have a tree that was delivered and needs to be planted. It has not stopped raining for a few days and I have yet to mix the soil and compost. I know the tree needs to be planted ASAP. Is it Ok to mix the compost with wet soil?

Answer: As long as you protect the tree's roots from drying out/over heating, you won't need to plant it immediately. If the tree is in a nursery container, just make sure it gets adequate water while it's waiting to be planted. If it is a bare root tree, wrap the roots with burlap, an old sheet, etc. (no plastic!) and keep it moist so the roots won't dehydrate. Then wait for the soil to dry out. If you work wet soil you'll end up with huge clumps that will be difficult to break up so wait until the soil crumbles in your hand when you grab a handful. When it does it is dry enough to work and you can mix your compost into it without ruining the soil's structure. Best wishes with your new tree and I hope it stops raining soon!

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