New tree in clay soil -- did I goof?
Tree-planting newbie, here, so please bear with me in my moment of panic!
Yesterday I acquired a promising Pagoda Dogwood "Golden Shadows" in a 7 gallon pot that my local nursery special ordered for me -- hooray! It's a larger specimen than I thought I would ever end up with (and more expensive >.When I told the nursery guy about how I read about not amending the soil to avoid root girdling, he looked at me like I had 2 heads! He said he's been planting trees for 20 years and to give the tree a fighting chance for root growth in clay, amend the clay 50/50 with organic material in the hole, which should be 2x the width of the pot and to add plant-tone to the mix to encourage root growth.
He also said that with the extra width with amended soil, the tree roots wouldn't hit native soil for 2 years, and by then, the roots would be strong enough to punch through into the clay (and, in the back of my mind, I said to myself "yeah, and by then the warranty on the tree would also be over"... cynical much, Michele?!?)
Well, the (hopefully good) news is that I ignored his advice, and overruled the Mr when he said we should listen to the nursery guy, but now i'm second guessing myself.
We dug the hole 2x the width of the pot, , teased the roots of the tree, which didn't appear root bound at all) placed the tree at the proper depth (I didn't remove the existing potted soil... is that a mistake?) and as we backfilled with native clay, we compressed it with our feet (maybe a bit over-enthusiastically... yikes?), made a berm with dirt to keep water on the slight slope the tree is planted in, then mulched up to but not including the original diameter of the pot/root ball, keeping the root flare and surrounding dirt clear. After the fact, I realized we neglected to rough up the sides of the hole to loosen the compaction from shoveling... GAH!
Now i'm wondering how the poor little tree is going to get through that compressed clay and how water is going to reach the roots! I don't want to kill my tree! Did I goof? Please talk me off the ledge before I go out, dig it up, and amend my soil....
Thanks for listening!