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"Luxury" pits and extra special soil

Posted by john_in_sc z7, upstate SC (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 9:44

Hey all,

Just wanted to relay an experience I recently had as a result of planting some of my early Peach trees into "Luxury pits" - where I carefully removed all the native soil and replaced with rich "Potting" soil type stuff....

So.. I dug up my worst peach tree... It was a total looser - no flavor, too many bugs, etc... I blame that on the specific Variety... not the pit, though...

The weird part was the Roots....

Instead of going "Down" into the luxury pit - it sent out 1 big root - SIDEWAYS... Straight out of the Luxury pit and into the surrounding horrible, depleted Red dirt.... Like it was trying to get OUT Of the extra-special dirt I prepared for it....

As a result of this - the tree always had a funny lean to it... and would lean over more and more each season when it bore.... I had similar stability problems with other trees planted into specially prepared "Pits" from the first season I owned the house....

All the other trees I planted in such manner haven't done well... Borers, disease, poor anchorage, etc... and no more vigor than later trees just stuck straight into the ground... so in that sense, I can't conclude that the Luxury Pit actually provided any benefit....

Now - all I do is to dig a small hole, remove the rocks, and stuff the tree in... If I am feeling crazy - I throw a little Lime and Phosphate in the hole with the tree... They seem to do better this way - and it saves me probably $20.00 and an hour of planting time...


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: "Luxury" pits and extra special soil

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 10:20


Thanks for those observations and I think they are spot on. Trees aren't carrots or radish that might like luxury soil. Trees need firm roots for proper anchorage.

RE: "Luxury" pits and extra special soil

I agree..i've never made luxury pits, but i've dug giant craters and threw the sod that i had to take out to dig the hole, into the bottom of the hole... I've always had a ton of growth here, but i think it has to do with adequate water and sandy soil.

RE: "Luxury" pits and extra special soil

All I ever do is dig a hole big enough to fit the tree in and fill it back up with the dirt from the hole. All my trees have grown really well with no problems. I have never even bothered to use fertilizer on them. Though where they are planted they get runoff from an old cattle pen so they get fertilized that way.

RE: "Luxury" pits and extra special soil

This is actually the current philosophy with planting trees - plant in native soil. If you have compressed soil, you can dig up a large hole to loosen the soil, but refill with your native soil not to include more than 20% mixed amendments. If you have clay soil, plant on a mound. And, do not dig too deep a hole, either, roots actually prefer more compacted soil. If you wish to address the adding of amendments, you should really only top-dress. Kind of like how Mother Nature would do :-) The trees will establish better, do better, survive longer.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purdue University: Tree Installation

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