"Luxury" pits and extra special soil

john_in_scApril 4, 2013

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...


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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


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.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:20AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

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.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:35AM
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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.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:45PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

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

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:09PM
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