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Amending soil for camelia

Posted by MrPetunia zone 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 28, 03 at 13:16

I have very powdery sandy soil. I want to plant camelias, gardenias, silver maples, weeping willows, dogwoods, and pecan trees. I am just starting to landscape my new property. I have heard on this board to not amend the soil. But my local nursery suggested that I add peat moss to the hole. What do I do? I trust the locals, because they have the same soil conditions as I, but ...

What do you guys suggest I do to plant the above mentioned trees? I'm pretty new to botany. I grew a garden last year that did so-so, but I think will do better this year. But I've never planted trees.

THanks in advance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Amending soil for camelia

The weeping willpw likes moist boggy areas. It may do OK in the sandy soil but will more likely not do well. If you have a low spot, and you want to try, put a willow there.

Look around your neighborhood and see if silver maples are doing well.

Dogwoods, azaleas, gardenias and camillias should do just fine. You might want to have a soil check to see how acidic the soil is before you think about peat. It can make the soil even more acidic....(I think)

Have you thought about hydrangeas? If you are near the coast, oleanders might do well too.

RE: Amending soil for camelia

Yeah, I planted a hydrangea last year. It died. Don't know why. It started wilting a couple months after I planted it, but would perk up after I watered it heavily. But it's leaves slowly turned brown and it withered away to nothing. I did amend the soil in the hole I planted it in, with black cow. I'm just wondering if that was what caused it to die.

RE: Amending soil for camelia

  • Posted by ashef coastal NC z8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 5, 03 at 17:53

Where are you? I'm on an island in southeastern NC and I can't imagine planting anything without digging the biggest hole possible, throwing out the sand and replacing it with manure & compost. Black cow is good, but cheap manure works just as well. Then every year I have to add lots of compost/manure top dressing because the good stuff just drains away through the sand. Our sand has few if any nutrients. Besides, it is very alkaline and camellias like acid soil.


RE: Amending soil for camelia

You really do need to build up your soil. Save your grass clippings and leaves. We even rake the neighbors' leaves over into our property. You can't grow much in pure sand.

Peat moss sounds like a good idea to me. I think the black cow may have done in your hydrangea. I was told by my local garden center not to use mushroom compost (also full of manure) around hydrangeas. It wouldn't hurt to purchase a big bag of potting soil and use that in the hole--or maybe peat humus.

One of my favorite tricks to start a flower bed in our sandy soil is to lay out a layer of newspaper first, and then some leaves, and then fill it with good quality humus. The newspaper keeps the good stuff from disappearing into the sand and eventually breaks down into more good soil.

Feed your coffee grounds to your acid-lovers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deborah's Garden

RE: Amending soil for camelia

You definately need to add amendments to the soil, compost or cow manure is good. Peat would work well also but you have to buy it. I have sandy soil too and add a wheelbarrow full of composted cow manure to each planting spot before a plant hits the ground, there is a dairy not too far away so it's free for the shoveling. Check around, you probably have a stable or farm nearby. If you have a truck or trailer, they will fill you up for free and be glad to get rid of it!

RE: Amending soil for camelia

and if you go get your own free want it too set out in sun and bake a bit for about a year.can speed it up durring summers(like TX hades season)and cover with black plastic& turn every few weeks.I do do a compost pile& annoying since with move last year....hubby looked at me and said was NOT loading my compost pile with us.....though i did sneak in 3 55 gal bags every trip down did have some to get me started...but you do want compost.I rake neighbors yard too for her clippings.I was smart too.i made compost pile at her back corner of fence.i got her putting scraps in too.i toss tuna juice in compost too when not going in my homemade fertilizer tea for my plants.
as to my camillia tree.when got this place last feb it had some kind of scale on leaves and some of the flowers would have spotsIts had a limb cut off and is taped.i cleaned bottom of tree up and scattered cow manure on ground and covered with pine straw.It looks better& watered deep once a week this summer.I have buds....and just read is some probably seeds so looking for info on buds/seeds something about squeezeing and being rounded not pointed...has a cluster of shoots comeing out of ground on one side of tree which is about 10-12 ft tall.would be nice to have more.i live in woods so soil is already acidic(plus have azealia under a i cheated..he hee) its well shaded my a huge 100 yr old or older oak tree and huge southern magnolia tree(thats had soot& scale problems which have cleared up now) still need to learn more about camillias for my area at least like the ones used as shrubs and different bloom times so can have one always in bloom.i have the room....have 2 acres

RE: Amending soil for camelia

  • Posted by Jeanni z8 Savannah (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 12, 03 at 20:16

If you've got pure sand like we do in the Wilmington Island/Tybee area you've got to amend the soil to get the best results.

To get nice loamy soil mix in peat moss, mushroom compost, cow manure, and top soil. Make sure you do mix it with the native soil though. Otherwise the roots will have a tendancy to stay in that highly enriched area and not go further into the soil.

Obviously the easiest way to do the amending is tilling a whole bed at once. But you can do the individual hole thing too.

Just as a note, I also top dress my beds with all that good stuff at least once a year (spring time). Just one application in our sandy soil isn't gonna keep the good garden stuff going.

Anyway, what you really need to do first before you plant anything is get a soil test. The County Extension office will do that for either $5 or $6. Call them up and they'll tell you what to do. That way you'll start off knowing exactly what you need to add to your soil.

Good luck!


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