I am about to plant 4 fruit trees: peach, avocado, cherry, and plum. My backyard is made of white construction clay and nothing has ever grown in it. So I dug 4 holes about 3-4 feet wide and deep and plan on filling the bottom 1/3 with hay, dried manure, and sand. These are materials I already have and I figure they will all have composted but the time the roots get that deep. The top two thirds will be filled with a mixture of 40% composted manure, 40% topsoil, and 20% sand. I will also throw a few shovels of the white clay to help with water retention. I will acidify the soil of the peach and cherry trees to 6. 5 and the avocado and plumb to 6. The trees have full sun all day long and the area is very windy. The fact I dug holes so deep gives me a unique opportunity to do things right, so it is important to me to check these facts. So I have three basic questions: Am I going about it the right way? Should I add dolomite, gypsum or any organic soil amendment to provide zinc, iron, manganese, calcium, potassium, or phosphorus to the soil? Anything else I can do to create optimum growing conditions? Thank you so much in advance for the time in answering these questions. All the best, Christian Bertacchini
Planting Fruit Trees
Promo3000, to answer your first question, yes, you are going about it in the right way. Second, I would add as much compost or humus as possible, up to 30%. Then as much as 40% of white clay, finishing with a 30% mixture of sharp sand, composted manure and top soil. This type combination will allow the roots to have a friable soil at first and make them strong enough to penetrate the white clay later. If you make a nice soft "nest", the roots might not want to venture out. You don't need to use a lot of fertilizer (manure) when planting. Adding compost yearly will give your plants many of the nutrients they need. If the trees are tall, you should stake them, loosely. Use a triangle of stakes instead of a single or double, that way if the wind changes directions, the staking will still be effective.