Ask a Question forum: To amend or not the soil before planting a tree

Views: 254, Replies: 6 » Jump to the end
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 12, 2017 1:14 PM CST
I read different things about it but should I add peat moss and compost with compost drench as I plant a tree in our front yard


It might be an American elm cultivar or a red oak. The compost is nature's magic and cow\sheep manure.


We were thinking of planting in may or late April. When outback nurshery opens or highland nurshery opens
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 12, 2017 1:42 PM CST
I've heard it both ways too. I think it depends upon your native soil. Here in Reno, at first I added some compost just because my 'soil' is actually sand. I realize I can never dig a whole big enough for an entire tree but I felt like I should at least give the tree a head start. What I have learned is that I am wasting my time and money as the roots grow everywhere - they seem to like the sand. In California, I never added anything to the planting hole but I was gardening in river bottom.

The problem is that you are taking the chance, with all that easy to grow through compost, that the roots never spread out into the native soil. If your soil is clay, that is a real possiblity.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Mar 12, 2017 2:49 PM CST
When I landscaped and we planted trees, in Mn., we made sure the hole was several feet larger than the root ball (partly in case a very heavy one was kitty-wampus so we could get ahold of it and realign {we learned that the hard way}) and made sure the root ball was free of burlap and wire, when they used a wire cage.
Wire cages kill trees as does synthetic rope and supposed biodegradable fabric that degrades long after the plant is dead.

Where you are at fertilizer and quality fill, if you do not want to simply used original dirt should not be a problem.
I would not use compost though, I would use black dirt; in my opinion, this is one area where the cheap bags of black dirt sold at places like Menards is just fine mixed with starter fertilizer.
One place though, seventy miles Northeast of you, we used a post hold digger in the center of the hole to make sure there was better drainage.

Both of the trees you are planting, especially the Oak, are very slow growing if you put in a very small tree.
It will be years before roots really hit new territory.
A Red Oak planted across the street from my home down South, was twelve feet high when they planted it and now is at most twenty some feet high.
The trunk was two inches in diameter and is not still only a little over three inches in diameter.
It had a natural bend in the trunk, so they planted it thinking that it would straighten up reaching for the Sun behind it.
It simply has kept on growing with a built in curve.

Down in Iowa, when I planted two high buck Maples, one hole I broke through the clay fill they had put on hill side for houses. I put water in and watch it drain out where I broke through the clay.
Up higher, I dug down till I could no longer do it by hand without make the hole large enough for a man to stand comfortably in. It was already as deep as a shovel is long.
I mentioned a post hole digger to him.
My boss said that should be good enough , "we will put sand on the bottom".
I had doubts.
I was correct, the tree that was there was dead the next year the other was doing very well.
Drainage is far more important that most people realize.
[Last edited by RpR - Mar 12, 2017 5:22 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1388285 (3)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 12, 2017 3:35 PM CST
I grew up in Sacramento, CA. There were companies you could hire to come out and dynamite a hole through the hardpan so you could plant your trees. Hardpan holds water and salts in the soil above it. The trees had holes that were blown through the hardpan but everything else was in raised beds.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Mar 12, 2017 4:03 PM CST
You may find this article of interest:

https://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-co...
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 12, 2017 4:06 PM CST
Great article Sue! I tip my hat to you.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 12, 2017 6:57 PM CST
Okay sounds good I'll just water with compost tea then thanks you saved me money

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by TBGDN and is called "Glory of the Snow"