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 Post subject: Flower Bed not Thriving
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:40 am 
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Our house was built 1 year ago. Naturally a lot of cushion sand was used around the house for grading. I mixed in yard of compost and top soil in before creating the beds. Should've done more.

Anyway, I applied Garrett juice just recently but I haven't done anything else with the soil. I'm close to Eagle Mt Lake with dark soil.

Problem:
The plants close to the house in the beds just aren't thriving. It's been more noticeable this year than last year but lantanas, salvias, crepe myrtles are just small and taking forever to come back and grow.

I'm going to reduce frequency of water because it is getting spongy. Just installed cedear mulch.

Any other ideas?

Observation: Grass hoppers are everywhere as well.
Salvia seem to be missing purple flowers.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:53 am 
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How much sun does that bed get, especially where you're having trouble? The plants you mentioned need about 7 hours of direct sun to thrive. Water once a week, deeply and that should be plenty. If you are unsure about when to water, insert a 6" long screwdriver into the soil around the plants. When you pull it out and see some soil on the shaft, the soil is very moist and you don't need to water until no soil sticks to the screwdriver. I also like to water in seaweed with iron this time of year. Have the plants been in the ground a full year?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:09 pm 
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Thanks for the tip Sandi. That will help me out a lot to determine watering threshold.

The flower bed is at the front of the house and faces dead east. So full half a day or more.
Also, my pom pom holly is not looking great or thriving. I have boxwood that aren't growing and one has died.

So maybe this is a water thing. I hope that is all it is. Where would you recommend buying the iron and seaweed?

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:19 am 
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Any nursery that sells organic products would carry it. I don't where you are located. Has the bed been amended with compost and other material or have the plants been placed in hard clay soil?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:41 pm 
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I need to check back more often. I missed this reply.

I'm in NW Fort Worth, very close to Eagle Mtn Lake.
The ground is a dark black/gray clay, but there is probably 6" of sand and I mixed in some compost before planting beds. So I would say 6-8" of decent soil, but I would like to get something into the clay to help lossen that up and something that would help the bed thrive.

I started watering 2 days a week for 15 mins each. Is this too much? I just put a fresh layer of cedar mulch on top of year old hardwood mulch.

Am I watering too much?
What nutrients or products should I add?

Beds consist of holly, gem magnolia, lantanas, salvias, grasses, crepe myrtle, snap dragons. They all look pathetic. Our old house had terrible tan clay in FW but Salvias and lantanas would get huge.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Just telling me how long and often you watered, does not tell me enough. It all depends on how well your soil is taking in the water. You should mix in about 4-6" of compost and expanded shale into clay soils and mix it in well. When you water, that soil mixture will drain well and the compost will hang on to some of the moisture so it doesn't dry out as quickly. Put a tuna can out in different areas when you water. Water until they are full, about 1". Do that once a week, not twice. Fertilize with a good, balanced, organic fertilizer every 3 weeks or so.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Excellent Sandi. I'll give it a try.

What is the best way to fertilize with the cedar mulch on top?
Just spread it and let the water bring it down.?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:59 pm 
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You should never have mulch piled up around the base of a plant. Spread it out a little...water at the base and/or use as a foliar spray.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:23 pm 
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I've heard Howard complain enough about mulching too high on a tree, so I definitely don't do that and have even racked and cleaned up the base of old pecan trees in our yard. I haven't exposed root flares like I've seen Howard do, but I can definitely see more of the flare than I used too.

I guess my question was that I have this new mulch on top but now I'm going to be adding iron, maybe DE and such. Can I just sprinkle this stuff on top and let the water bring it down to the ground?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:37 am 
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DE needs to be dry to be effective on insects. The water will trickle through the mulch.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:29 am 
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Well 2 days ago I pulled back some mulch around non thriving plants and sprinkled a little ironite (not my first choice but all I could get my hands on)

I then sprayed the soil at the bases with seaweed mixture and then sprayed the leaves and soil base with Garrett Juice.

Ill maintain as instructed by bottles and get some Holly Tone as well.

Ill then need to figure out how to get the clay underneath the mulch & thin top soil layer healthier. I just put 3 yards of cedar mulch down and dont know how to get shale or other products to break up and make the clay healthier.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:34 am 
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Bed prep it THE most important thing. You can't really do it with plants in the bed. Work compost in and around the best you can. Stay away from the ironite. It's too strong to be putting around the plants. Just water in Seaweed with iron and you'll be fine.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:57 am 
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Thanks for the heads up on ironite. It appeared to be the only iron product at the supply store I was at. I think I was pretty easy on the application. Just a little sprinkle. Maybe I can use the bag on the lawn.

Update:
The Lantanas seem to have perked up a bit, but the snap dragons and salvias just look pathetic. The magnolia bush still looks a little sad. The leaves are sagging and some are still yellow.

Also, after the treatment, I had a little rosemary that now has had several branchs turn tan and crunchy. Maybe it doesn't like the less watering I've been doing. The beds were being overwatered thanks to Sandi's tip to check the proper moisture content.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:19 pm 
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I don't think that Ironite is acceptable for use at at all. It has changed formulations a few times but he current version seems to be synthetic fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate. Here's the MSDS sheet one of the products.
http://www.ironite.com/msds/MSDS_Liquid ... _7-6-6.pdf


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:31 am 
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Not to throw a wrench in what I have said but, Rosemary loves being very dry before a deep water. If it starts to turn brown, most likely it's too much water for that plant.

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