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How to water & fertilize trees in hard clay soil?

How to water & fertilize trees in hard clay soil?


Old 04-18-06, 12:01 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wichita
Posts: 149
How to water & fertilize trees in hard clay soil?

I have 5 trees that were planted last Fall. I water them as needed. My problem is that the soil has so much clay that I'm afraid that most of the water is not getting down to the deeper roots. Also, when it's time to fertilize I'm not sure how deep I'll be able to get it.

What's the solution to this? I'm not sure what's out there along the lines of tools or special methods to get water/fertilizer to the deep roots of trees.
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Old 04-18-06, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Clay soil absorbs water less readily, so it will take considerably more time to soak an adequate amount of water to reach roots. Using a soaker hose would be your best bet. See the link for watering trees in clay soil info: http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/lanb002/lanb002.htm

A soil test would tell you what amendments need to be made to soil for type of trees and soil type. For fertilizing info, go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/c...rtilizing.html
Old 04-19-06, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 2,535
I always had success with the tool that pokes deep into the ground and waters the roots. You can also add fertilizer.
You may need to use a soaker hose if the point won't go into the ground easily.
Old 04-20-06, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 948
ross makes a root feeder as do others. you could make your own with a miracle grow feeder, 1/4" pipe. attach the output of the feeder to the pipe and jet in the mixture.
Old 04-20-06, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 2,535
Ross root feeder - that's the one I couldn't think of last night. Thanks, flopshot.

Another method, actually preferred by many tree "doctors" is to augur a lot of holes around the tree. Fill the holes with gravel. The grass will grow over and hid the gravel, but this allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This is the method used to help save dying trees.
I can't remember the specifics. If you need them, I'll find them this weekend.

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