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Organic Matter & arils

Bill Shear wrote:

:  Perhaps Sharon will jump in and give us her experience with arils and OM.

They love it, as long as it's buried deep.  

We add lots of decayed leaves and horse manure to all new or renovated beds --
whether the residents are expected to be TBs, arilbreds, or arils.  The organic
matter goes in the bottom, though, layered with native soil. The top 4" is
native sandy soil, into which we mix some potting soil to aid water retention,
and some chemical fertilizer.   The growth spurt that happens when roots reach
the organic matter is quite remarkable, but I've noticed that the arils tend to
send their roots downward while the TBs send their roots outward.  (The
arilbreds do a bit of both, as you might expect.)

Unlike TBs, though, the arils don't seem to benefit from OM in the surface
layers.  We tried that with a number of experimental beds one year, mixing the
OM evenly instead of layering it, but the top 6" proved so rich that the arils
didn't put their roots down as deep as usual and less than half of them made it
though the first year.  The TBs didn't thrive as they had in layered beds, but
didn't experience quite as severe a mortality rate as the arils did, either.  (I
must say that among the survivors, the arils outbloomed the TBs.) The arilbreds
fared best, but even those did not perform as well as they have in layered beds.
So it was back to deep digging and layering.

Sharon McAllister
Southern New Mexico


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