Deep watering trees


Old 04-03-02, 07:09 AM
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Deep watering trees

In the area of Bakersfield, CA, where we live, the soil is clay, with about 8" of hardpan below the topsoil. We're putting in a few trees, and now we're wondering how to train the roots to get through the hardpan.
When we water, the water seems to stay on the surface, even though we mixed humus into the dirt when we planted the trees (2 - 5 gallon & 1 - 24" box size). We were thinking of drilling/augering some holes around the trees & filling them with gravel to help percolate water down. Any other ideas?
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Old 04-03-02, 01:09 PM
howiek's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
Posts: 413
Hello errolv

You could break up the hardpan with a pickaxe or fork to help the drainage but I think that if you can get your new trees thru the first few seasons, their roots will generally be able to penetrate and spread on their own. You just want to make sure that you don't have a bowl where water will collect and stay long enough to drown the trees in their vulnerable adjusting period.

Any other opinions?

Good Luck

Old 04-03-02, 08:31 PM
fewalt's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: sw VA
Posts: 3,100
Good advice Howie,

Too many people try to adjust the hole with too much peat or humus, and like you say, the plant/tree drowns(rots) in the water sitting at the bottom of the hole.
My fruit trees are planted in 30% dirt and 70% limestone, it's all around here, and they are doing fine.

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