Putting a Disanthus cercidifolius in a planter.

ledouchebagJuly 28, 2014

HI all,

I have a Disanthus cercidifolius I really want in a particular spot. The spot is nice, however, it pretty much has about an inch of topsoil and the rest is just clay, and I mean thick clay. I've read there a two options: building a mound or a planter box. The planter box looks the most sensible since the mound would have to be quite large to rise above ground level and the clay. My main concern, however, with planter boxes is mainly to do with drainage and its relation to the the size of the box since it will still have clay at the bottom. I guess my biggest fear is that the planter will be too small and in the long term the shrub will just become root bound in the planter itself. By that, I mean, where the planter soil hits the clay, won't it keep the roots that eventually make it down there waterlogged and unable to breach the clay? Is this a risk or do the roots generally not behave this way and stay near the top of the planter? So, generally, if the box is big enough drainage is not an issue?

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Disanthus cercidifolius is a vigorous and quite rapidly growing shrub, so you're right to be concerned about long term life in any sort of container. All in all, your probably better off creating - and it is a lot of work - a large planting bed on top of the clay. Before embarking on this project, it would be worthwhile to check how well the clay drains and its overall fertility. Not all clay is impermeable to water and/or totally lacking in nutrients. Stone or logs can be used as edging for the bed which ought to be between 9 and 12 inches deep. Once its created, keep in mind that soil fauna and microbes will begin to alter the interface between the improved layer and the original clay, thereby improving drainage.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:26AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

see link regarding clay soil ... work above yours ...

the only problems with clay.. is digging in it.. and water management ... do keep in mind.. every plant that is grown and ball and burlapped.. is grown in clay ... else they couldnt dig a ball of soil ... but they know how to deal with such ....

the whole pot thing is just complicating it all.. IMHO ...

as per link.. plant the root mass half in the clay .. half with new soil above.. and let it figure out.. where to put its roots.. and it will .. eventually.. put them into the clay ... the mound gives us.. leeway.. to get a plant past transplant shock and establish itself ....

i hope you are planning on a fall planting.. rather than august. ... which isnt very conducive for most of the country ....

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:36AM
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