Ask a Question forum: Compacted soil fix without disturbing plants?

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San Jose, CA
gkgrace
Jun 5, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Hi everyone,

New gardener here! I was digging a hole for a new plant yesterday and noticed the soil in my garden was rock solid. I had to really push the shovel down to make a dent! I assume this may negatively impact any new plants that don't have established roots yet. However, I have rose bushes every ~2.5 feet and companion plants in between.

Is there any way to fix the compacted soil without disturbing too many of my already existing plants?

Thank you!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 5, 2017 3:11 PM CST
A pitchfork, going straight down every 4 to 6 inches and 6 inches deep to get air to roots. Then some compost, straw, leaves, wood chips, etc. Will help soil to build up. It will bring up earthworms also. They will airalate soil, where you dont constantly walk. Thumbs up
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 5, 2017 3:13 PM CST
I'm not sure where you are finding the room to plant something more. It really depends upon what you are planting and how big its root system is, if its an annual or perennial...

Annuals don't need a lot of root room and only last a season. Perennials, on the other hand, will be there for years to come so need better preparation. The planting hole needs to be sized to accommodate whatever size plants you are adding.
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

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Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pepper23
Jun 5, 2017 3:14 PM CST
Phillip is correct. Using a pitchfork will get some air in there then adding compost with something to use as mulch on top to hold in moisture and to break down and compost. Don't use weed fabric or rock because they won't help the soil.

To help the soil break loose, take a hose and slowly soak the soil a bit. Need just enough moisture so the fork bounce off the ground.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 5, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Its San Jose. We may be talking about a layer of hardpan.
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

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