Amending sandy soil

aqua_thumb(7)July 6, 2006

I am new to this site and have enjoyed reading your posts. I have a question some of you may be able to help me with. Just moved to a new house and I am trying to work in the very neglected flower beds. The ppl we bought our house from never spent a moment in the beds, no mulch, overgrown weeds and shrubs, etc. The original owners really worked in them however. She must have amended the clay soil, but I don't know if b/c of all the time had passed with nothing done to them if they turned even more sandy. We just pulled a ton of creeping juniper up and my soil looks like my kids sandbox to at least 9 or 10 inches deep. One of our local nurseries is selling large ziploc bags full of something very similiar to my soil, calling it Bonsai mix for $10 a bag, mine is a little finer. Guess I could be sitting on a gold mine if I sold it (j/k) but it's always so dry no matter how much I water. Bought a truck load of double shredded pine mulch the other day and someone said if I amend that into my soil it should be sufficient. Do you think? I'm so used to the clay soil, I feel lost in this quick sand. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Amending with any and all kinds of organic matter will be your job! Bark fines are good, as is chopped leaves, compost, manure, on and on and on. Sandy soil is probably easier to 'fix' than a clayey soil because you can actually do damage to clay by 'overworking' it.

Loads of double- or triple-grind wood chips, when applied as a mulch, will shortly work their way into the soil system without you having to do much work. Plan on doing that every once in a while. It would be great to locate a source of compost.

Remember, even the addition of a little OM is a good thing for sandy soils, so keep it up and you will be much rewarded. I lived in an area of deep sandy soils for many years and learned to love the ease of culture. Now that I have a yard full of hard, red clay that I've had to figure out (!!!!) I think back on those days with a certain fondness.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 11:41AM
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You may also want to read the FAQ on the Soil, Compost, and Mulch Forum ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil, Compost and Mulch Forum

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 3:59PM
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Add as much grass and leaves as you can. Is there a saw mill close by which will let you dig sawdust? How about a cabinet shop. A friend used to use the sanded sawdust from a cabinet shop. It rotted quickly. Ther is an abandoned saw mill in West Blocton where I used to get rotted sawdust. Chop up pine straw with a lawnmower and add it to the soil. Whatever you use, be sure to turn it under the sandy soil. Give yourself 2 or 3 years to amend the soil before planting.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 12:57AM
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