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Re: small trees/archives

  • Subject: Re: small trees/archives
  • From: Len Phillips lenphillips@yahoo.com
  • Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 04:56:59 -0700 (PDT)

> I seem to have a few 
> inches of black dirt above clay. A tree that would remain small or
> very, 
> very slow is what I have in mind. My main concern remains invasive
> roots. 
> Layne

Hi Layne, If you do nothing, just about everything you plant is going to
grow in the few inches of black dirt and avoid the clay.  Furthermore
there will be a  moisture barrier created between these two soil types
because of the soil particle size differential.  And when you irrigate,
the water will flood the black dirt and not soak into the clay.

However, there is a solution but it will require a bit of work.  I would
strongly recommend that you hire a tractor mounted rotary tiller and mix
the black dirt with the clay as deep as the machine will go.  Then you
should add a few inches of compost and till again, but not as deep.  The
tilling will loosen the clay and mix the dirt into it so ground water will
be able to flow from the pure clay to the mixed clay and then to the
compost/black dirt/clay soil on top.  Your plants will also be able to
grow all the way down to the pure clay soil.

When making your plant selection be sure to select plants that will
tolerate wet feet.  Hostas will do the absolute best they can do with this
improved soil combination.  The trees you select should be trees such as
the improved cultivars of red maple and stellar dogwoods.  Most of the
serviceberries/shadblow or amelanchier, will perform well.  

If you have other questions or would like a long list of plants which
should do well, don't hesitate to send me a private email.  I'm glad to

Len Phillips
Editor of Hosta Magazine
Visit http://hostamagazine.com

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