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 Post subject: Big Ugly hole
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:49 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Carrollton,TEXAS
Hi,

I have a new house, and am planning to plant some trees. I dug some holes, and with all this rain this weekend, I notice the water haven't drained very well. The hole if filled with water, so I am assuming that my clay soil needs some amending. What should I do before I plant these trees to make sure I get good drainage. I've already put down the combo wheat bran, molasses, cornmeal, lavasand, greensand and compost, very thinly spread out on top of the soil. I bought a flowering dogwood, gala apple, persimmon and pear tree. Thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:01 am
Posts: 961
Location: Dallas, TX
First, the ground is so saturated from the heavy rains, there is no where for the water to drain. Regardless, nothing should ever be put in the backfill to change the basic composition of the soil. The roots of trees have to be able to grow in the existing soil.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:49 pm
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Location: Carrollton,TEXAS
I understand that we shouldn't backfill, but the hole I dug to plant my gala apple tree still has not drained when other holes for the other trees have already drained. Would it help if I plant it on a mound, but wouldn't the root be sitting in water when it gets too much water? What can I do to prepare the area to help with drainage before I plant ?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:37 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
I'm curious as to why you dug the hole so far in advance of planting the tree? Time management? I've never dug a hole to plant anything until right before the planting itself. Just goes to show you how differently people can think! :lol:

In any case, making sure the exposed soil surface inside the hole is rough and permeable, rather than smoothe and slicked down by the sides of the shovel, will make a difference in how easily the tender new roots of your lovely gala apple tree can begin to establish themselves in their new home. Our clay soil can become as hard as concrete when it is packed down, as in the problems Howard has spoken of so often with the "hard pan" effect years of plowing have created in some pastures.

Like Howard said, the ground is saturated so it's the same thing as when you have a full sponge - any more water you pour on it will just run off because there is physically no more room! However, if you created smoothe walls in your tree planting hole, you have done what many people do - created a "pot" in the ground from which it is difficult for plant roots to escape. Use a toothed instrument to make sure your hole has lots of holes and a very rough surface, put that tree in the ground (checking to make sure its trunk is properly exposed and not buried too deep) and let it begin to adjust to its new home before the weather gets any hotter. And don't baby it too much - more trees are killed by people "loving them to death" than anything else.

The supplements on the surface of the soil around it are terrific. You should have great success!

Kathe :D


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