Soil

jezza
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Soil

Post by jezza » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:13 am

I have a space in my back garden. I was looking at either a trachycpoarpus fortunei or a Chamaerops humilis. The soil however is quite dark and it looks like the previous occupants of my house used this area for regular bonfires. Will either of these two palms be ok in such soil? A fir tree that's nearby is growing fine in it.

Also, is it a bit late to be planting into the ground and leave it til after winter?

Thanks,
Jezza.


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stephenprudence
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Re: Soil

Post by stephenprudence » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:13 pm

I'll probably be contradicted now but from what I learnt in ecological soil science in university, that fire is a natural occurrence which is conducive to new growth. There are properties that will suit your palms fine, in fact it is said that soil that is charred can be better for growing stuff. However the only problem is, that vegetation burning back is most common on acid, sandy soils rather than limey soils, so if the soil does have charred sandy properties you should be okay planting it. Lime or neutral soil however reacts differently and is not so suited to planting after it has been burnt.

Trachycarpus should be okay to plant now, how big is it? If you are going to plant it though, add some sand, and mulch around base of the trunk for winter
Heswall, Wirral, UK
USDA equivalent average temperature zone: 9a/RHS zone 3
AHS Heat Zone: 1
Last 5 winter minimums:
2007: -0.1C, 2008: -4.2C, 2009: -5.7C, 2010: -10.5 (record), 2011: -4.9C, 2012: -5.3, 2013: -4.5C (so far)


jezza
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:39 pm

I haven't bought either of the two yet, i wanted to know which would be best before buying. The soil isn't sandy, more chalky.


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stephenprudence
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Re: Soil

Post by stephenprudence » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:56 pm

You could always dig a hole, and put some compost and a little sand, Trachycarpus being from highland China and India like sandy, ericaceous soils, but you can always recreate that in your garden..
Heswall, Wirral, UK
USDA equivalent average temperature zone: 9a/RHS zone 3
AHS Heat Zone: 1
Last 5 winter minimums:
2007: -0.1C, 2008: -4.2C, 2009: -5.7C, 2010: -10.5 (record), 2011: -4.9C, 2012: -5.3, 2013: -4.5C (so far)


jezza
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:22 pm

I didn't think of that thanks :D I have a Buddleia Tree & a Nordmann fir in the same soil and they are growing brilliantly.


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Dave Brown
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Re: Soil

Post by Dave Brown » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:51 pm

stephenprudence wrote:You could always dig a hole, and put some compost and a little sand, Trachycarpus being from highland China and India like sandy, ericaceous soils, but you can always recreate that in your garden..
Not contradicting your bit on fire and alkaline soils as I don't know about that, but Trachycarpus fortunei come from limestone mountainous areas so sandy ericaceous soils are not best for it, and will mean you spend 24 hours a day watering, or the palm will suffer. My trudi Trachycarpus (Pic below) had its hole dug out with a pickaxe as it was solid clay with a chalky clay subsoil about 2 1/2 feet down. I really expected to have to replant it the next year. It loves it icon_salut
010708 garden 032.jpg
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jezza
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:34 pm

Nice one! I have cleared enough space to plant both straight in the ground 8)


Nigel Fear
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Re: Soil

Post by Nigel Fear » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:46 pm

...and you should be able to plant Chamaerops now no problem, and Trachycarpus at any time, make sure you leave enough room from the other plants though. :wink:


jezza
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:07 am

I have a 11 ft gap so plenty of room :)


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stephenprudence
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Re: Soil

Post by stephenprudence » Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:00 am

Dave, problem is that China is so varied in geology, so trachycarpus will inevitably be growing in both sedimentary (sand stone) and limestone dominated soils. It is said that Trachycarpus grow at higher altitudes, limestone will mostly be below the sedimentary rock due to the settling of sediment on top of coral when sea levels decrease. This means that either the Trachycarpus have to be fairly low or the geological profile involved an under water rift at some point.

Northern/Himalayan India however is predominantly sandstone, as going into the Himalayas above 2,500 metres, Granite above about 3,500 metres though from what I could discern. Trachycarpus therefore must grow in sandstone more than they do Limestone in terms of frequency... either than or they are in isolated groups/lower down the slopes?
Heswall, Wirral, UK
USDA equivalent average temperature zone: 9a/RHS zone 3
AHS Heat Zone: 1
Last 5 winter minimums:
2007: -0.1C, 2008: -4.2C, 2009: -5.7C, 2010: -10.5 (record), 2011: -4.9C, 2012: -5.3, 2013: -4.5C (so far)


Alexander
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Re: Soil

Post by Alexander » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:44 am

I have seen 1 Trachycarpus in the wild, that was T. oreophilus on Doi Chiang Dao. That mountain is just all limestone. The Trachycarpus grow usely in a loamy soil wich is found among the crevecis of vertical limestoneclifs. In that area als now and then bushfires occur, probably by ligthening. You als see a kind of Rhododendron there on the limestonecliffs and Mahonia siamense.
Here in Holland Trachycarpus fortunei grows on all kinds of soils. At Kimmei thehere are big specimens on sandy soil. If you plant them its best to prepare the plantinghole well with good compost and on heavy soils with course grid. Well a bit the Gardenersworld way. Also digging 3 spades deep before making a border with exotics or whatever is a good thing.
When there have been bonfires before in the garden it means you get extra minirals in the ground like potassium wich is good. Pottassium makes the plant coldhardier.
In lots of natural habitads where palms occur natural fires are often part of the ecosystem. And that can be a limestone habitad on Mallorca or a sandy savana in the Southern US.

Alexander


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Dave Brown
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Re: Soil

Post by Dave Brown » Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:29 am

Pehaps I need to qualify my statement on Trachycarpus fortunei

"sandy ericaceous soils are not best for it, and will mean you spend 24 hours a day watering, or the palm will suffer"

They Naturally occur in in mountainous areas which I have been told (not been there) is limestone. This is not ericaceous. Perhaps it will grow in ericaceous soil but I would not plant in that. These areas also have very high rainfall. Grown in a sandy soil its water requirements will be far higher than in a clay soil. Trachycarpus fortunei suffers badly in drought conditions. My Trunky Trachycarpus is still growing out the yellow leaves following the 2004/5 dought with hosepipe bans. If it rains everyday it probably won't care how well drained the soil is, but in areas prone to drought you are better off planting in clay (which does it no harm at all) or a moisure retentive soil. Here, at least, it is impossible to overwater. Given ample water Trachycarpus fortunei grows well here, in dry years without additional water no growth occurs :wink:

Trunky Trachycarpus in a wet year 2008 but still showing the yellow leaves from the 2004/5 drought
010708 garden 003.jpg
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:28 am

I live on the top of a hill that is part of the chiltern hills so the soil in my garden is chalky with a fair amount of flint stones for good measure. It drains quickly and the surface will start cracking due to dryness within three or four days of no rain, so during the summer i think i'd have to get the garden hose out. It also gets windy, but my whole back garden is sheltered by other trees so it doesn't blow plants away.

This is what i have to work with....


Image


Petefree
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Re: Soil

Post by Petefree » Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:29 am

It looks a good size garden, Jezza - and a nice spot too (I like the Chilterns and their population of Red Kites!)
Lots of scope for a good exotic garden there, with a ready made shelter belt!
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jezza
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Re: Soil

Post by jezza » Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:17 am

I have my orders to leave the bottom quarter alone so the kids have a play area. I therefore have what is grassed in the photo. Hmm now what could i do icon_scratch :D


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