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Re: soil and roots

I can't help but get involved here because I love interaction with hosta
people.  I still believe they are the most sincere and likeable group of
people I have found in my lifetime, and I wasn't born yesterday.   So just
for the sake of being involved, here is my opinion.

As far as soilless medium, natural soil or bareroot,  I will buy plants I
want and not ask how they are potted or sent to me.  I believe roots will
nourish and provide plants with whatever is needed as long as I plant it
with reasonable care.  I feel the most important thing is to make sure the
roots have a chance to grow naturally and get moisture needed while doing

In the beginning I wanted my plants to grow big FAST so that is why I
amended the soil.  Reading all the stuff about digging holes, fertilizing,
amending, and then planting hosta,  it goes without saying we are all doing
this for the same reason, especially those in the selling business.  Look at
the time and money involved on both sides of the fence.  Let's talk about
the (sometimes) back breaking work involved.  (STILL LOVE DOING IT) Soilless
medium and great fluffy soil makes for easier digging and dividing but find
all the amending and fertilizers, natural and otherwise,  doesn't last so is
only an immediate quick fix at best, but in some situations, needed.    Now
10 years later, I cannot tell the difference between those that have
expensive holes and those that were planted otherwise.  I know  at the time
of planting that I'm probably going back and dig them up again, to divide,
share, sell, or just move them around so if I use compost, hopefully that
job will be easier.  I HAVE done all of the amending talked about in one
form or another but now I mostly pay attention to the size of the hole as
compared to the plant and roots going into that hole.  By the way, I really
liked it when it was decided we should not amend the soil for trees, made my
job as gardener and hole digger a lot easier.   I personally believe this to
be true for all plants.   So, even though I still want my hostas to be big
and beautiful, my main concern is that second, third, fourth, etc. time I'm
digging that same hole and the plant has become larger.  We each have to go
to our gardens and decide exactly how much time, money, energy and amending
is needed to attain results  wanted.  After 10 years I'm happy with the size
and condition of my garden and I have planted both with and without
amendments  I know a fellow who plants in pure composed manure and he grows
some fast tc's and beautiful plants, FOR SALE.  I don't need accelerated
growth, just good steady growth.   So my motto is, dig a good size hole,
straighten roots as much as possible, plant and then mulch with a bit of
compost so it will have nourishment while it is becoming acclimated. Let the
worms and mother nature take care of the rest.    I believe that soil too
wet to be worked and planted can be the worse enemy to the plants placed
into that planting situation.  Under those conditions, not only does the
plant suffer but until the soil heals itself the plant cannot get
nourishment needed to grow.  The possibility of air pockets in the soil are
magnified which can definitely be fatal and/or can cause some of the roots
to die and the plant suffers setback.  I believe there are as many different
reasons for plants not to thrive as there are different people planting

By the way, I have only used a balanced fertilizer once a year, every year
during those 10 years but my water bill is the biggest utility bill I pay
all year.

Beth Arnold
Peoria Illinois  Zone 5

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