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Ideal Japanese Maple Soil

Posted by tnemeth888 NE Ohio (My Page) on
Thu, May 3, 07 at 10:25

Hello - I have some serious clay soil here in northeast Ohio and was wondering what everyone uses for Japanese Maple soil. I have been using a mixture of 15% sand, 30% peat, 20% pine bark and 35% potting soil. Does anyone use anything different?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ideal Japanese Maple Soil

I do not know whether you are amending soil or not ..but your post suggests so...generally speaking amending is now frowned upon ...that being said if your have that bad of soil you probably have no choice IMHO and the current wisdom of the JM "experts" should be ignored. sand is NOT recommended PERIOD since it is usually too fine I would suggest crushed granite ( turkey grit #4..) also peat should be kept to a minimum it dries to fast and matts out ponding water... the soil is ok as long as NO suggestion would be close to a container mix with the exception of the soil 10% ( maybe 15%) turkey grit,40- 50% pine bark of a couple differnt sizes 20% pine bark fines (Lowes black forest hardwood mix works good), 10-15 % pro mix (maximun) if you can get pro mix BRK it's best limited peat has pine bark and root stimulator)...15 % soil mix your choice but no fertilizer or water holder just plain top soil... ( may or may not be over 100% but you can adjust) that as I said is similar to my container mix but I use a bit more Pro mix BRK and no top soil ...others will have their own ideas ..just mine ..David

RE: Ideal Japanese Maple Soil

In my neck of the woods our clay is so bad we are also forced to ammend nearly everthing. There are literally less than an inch of topsoil in many areas (only 4 iches in river bottoms). The clay is so hard that it can only be shaved off with a shovel in many areas, or the pick side of a maddock has to be used for most digging.

I would also reccomend leaning towards more pine bark (50 percent or more). You definetely would need a large grit sand if any of that is used, fine sand will not help. I agree with david don't use much peat, it would really be a waste.

I think the ammended we use is about 65% mixture of pine bark mulch/nuggets, about 25% soil, and 10% course sand. I'm not positive on the exact numbers, but that is close. You should also be careful to dig the hole wide and shallow rather than skinny and deep. Encourage the roots to grow horizontally into the newly loosend soil rather than sitting in a bowl full of water.

RE: Ideal Japanese Maple Soil

I can help clarify some of the information given so far:

No fine sand at all should ever be used. Sand and clay bind as if concrete were present.

The suggestions for pine bark are great but I'd cut it down to a soil surface level of 2" that you'll amend and I'd add another 2" of a compost that contains no lime (no rose compost, mushroom compost).

As the poster above says for their clay, they need to add a lot more organic matter than most. If your clay is that bad then continue to add more organic matter as they are doing. That makes good sense on their part. Also listen to them when mentioned that digging/amending wide is key!

That's a hundred percent on.

A tiller sure would be nice. Going back and forth slowly mixing those ingredients in. It might be worth your time to rent one. You can always till other areas as well if they charge by the half day, or whatever, you see.

Take care,


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