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Author Topic: Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?  (Read 1204 times)

jbclem

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Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?
« on: October 25, 2016, 07:28:35 AM »
The soil, on the hillside where I want to plant some avocados, is called sandy silt/silty sand according to a soil test a few years ago.  I have a 2 month old Duke grown from seed and a 2 year old Fuerte (in a container) ready to plant.

The soil drains fairly quickly and doesn't seem to have much (or any) organic matter.  I'd like some suggestions for ways to amend the soil in the 2' x 2' hole I'm going to dig for the planting.  I'm going to go down more than the rootball depth because I have to put in a hardware cloth cage to stop gophers.

I also have my own mix of potting soil that I could use if that would work.  That consists of 1/3 compost, 1/3 Earthgro Ground Cover Bark run through 1/2" screen, and 1/3 used SuperSoil (mostly peat).  I also add gypsum to the potting soil.

I'd like to hear what others have done to improve the planting hole for the avocado tree.

John

pschill444@aol.com

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Re: Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 08:23:55 AM »
Hi John, i would not put anything in the hole altho i would put some compost and mulch on top the ground about 3 feet or so and about 4 to 6 inches deep i would maintain that level of mulch year around adding to it as the tree grows keeping the mulch moist at all times will attract the worms and other soilborn organicisms which will help in part to breaking that material down and inproving your soil while also feeding your tree, i would also NOT USE hardware cloth around my tree as i believe they cause a lot more damage by girlding the roots as they grow  than a gopher ever will just be vigilant and keep a trap handy.             Patrick

simon_grow

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Re: Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
I would loosen the soil and backfill with the native soil with maybe only a small amount of amendments, not more than 25% max. I would also dig a square shaped hole instead of a round one. Add a thick layer of mulch on top of the root zone.

You may want to try planting seeds directly into the soil and grafting them once they are established or become the appropriate size. http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=12844.0

Simon


jbclem

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Re: Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 07:53:00 AM »
Thanks for the planting ideas.  I'm worried that the silty sand/sandy silt I'm planting in won't hold enough moisture to keep the avocado roots at the slightly moist level I've read they like.  If the feeder roots populate the mulch, they should get enough moisture if I keep it wet.  But what about any other roots that are spreading into the non-mulch area.  I lost a lot of young apple trees before I figured out how much they had to be watered in the summers here.

Patrick, unless gophers don't like avocado tree roots, I have to protect the trees.  I live on top of a gopher hill and the trees are going to be planted in an area that's combed with tunnels.  A few years ago I had a nice 5 year old apricot tree die on me and when I dug it out there were no roots...I found gopher tunnels leading through the rusted chicken wire basket it was planted in and the roots had been eaten down to nubs, leaving only the trunk of the tree.  What I've done with two other fruit trees where I used 24"-36" diameter hardware cloth baskets was to clip out parts of the 1/2" hardware cloth holes making them 1" holes.  It's very laborious and time consuming but I don't know any other way to protect the trees.  Do you know how large avocado roots will get out about 18" from the trunk?  And do you think the roots would find their way through holes that are large enough?

I have gopher traps, and I put juicy fruit gum into the tunnels and that keeps the population down, and I might even put broken glass in the main tunnels...but just like with squirrels, they rise early and are active all day long.  And there are a lot of tunnels that I'll never be able to get to.   It's impossible to be that vigilant, there's always going to be a new gopher in town that gets to the tree before I get to it. 

Vernmented

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Re: Planting avocado in silty sand/sandy silt soil?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 11:30:26 AM »
I would bust up as much of the soil as you can and plant on a very large enriched mound. After that I would mulch the bejeezus out of it with free tree pruner mulch. When you plant make sure you open up and prune out and circling roots. I am a huge fan of charged biochar and endomycorrhizal inoculants.
-Josh

 

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