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Planting tree with little soil on bedrock?

 
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I've never noticed this "tips for awkward spots" forum until now!!  I'm hoping this hasn't been extensively covered here already, but advice is much appreciated.  I did however see a post about putting a Hugel on bedrock.

I recently bought a Plum tree and had a spotted picked out.  However, once I started to dig I realized it's on bedrock.  The soil is only 8" deep in this area, water does very slowly drain but I don't know where the cracks and seams are in this bedrock.  I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado).  The Santa Rosa plum was said to be best up to 6000' and I live at 7500', but I was told this is mostly an oxygen issue and to not cover the root ball.

I've seen this youtube video about "GTI tree stakes" which made it seem so long as I can keep the tree stable so it won't fall over this might be possible -  


I specifically wanted the shad in this location so I would really like to make this possible, perhaps building the soil up around the tree like a raised bed.

If this is absolutely a bad idea maybe I'll go the Hugelculture route with tomatos and other plants.
 
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drill holes in bedrock, fill with water wait till winter, if lucky rock will be all cracked up in spring
 
bruce Fine
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also could try making big fire on bedrock, then pour buckets of cold water on it to crack it up
 
Seth Marshall
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bruce Fine wrote:drill holes in bedrock, fill with water wait till winter, if lucky rock will be all cracked up in spring


Ha, I never thought of that.

I needed to get the tree planted and decided to force this spot to work.  I actually did drill a ton of 1/2" hole 12" deep in hopes of finding a crack or seam.  I don't think I did because the water didn't drain much better.  I planted her on top of it with plenty of space around it.  We'll see.

If I had some more time I also could have used expanding grout to break it up.  But this only goes as deep as my drill can reach.

 
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Drive around the hood and see what else is growing on rock.  No reason to reinvent the wheel.  Nothing worse than a beautiful 5-10 year old tree that is just hitting its stride that blows over due to a poor root/soil match.
 
pollinator
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Just a little piece of interesting observations I have seen on my land. The fir trees seem to prefer the granite rocky areas and grow in these rock formations including right into bedrock. Actually not only breaking the rock up, but twisting and spiraling it around as they grow their roots into it. I will try to get some good pics of it in a few different spots if people are interested. Some of the biggest healthiest trees on my propert and the mountain are growing into the granite bedrock.
 
Seth Marshall
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Devin Lavign wrote:Just a little piece of interesting observations I have seen on my land. The fir trees seem to prefer the granite rocky areas and grow in these rock formations including right into bedrock. Actually not only breaking the rock up, but twisting and spiraling it around as they grow their roots into it. I will try to get some good pics of it in a few different spots if people are interested. Some of the biggest healthiest trees on my propert and the mountain are growing into the granite bedrock.


This makes sense as here at 7500 feet in Colorado I'm in a pine and fir forest.    I just want some fruit trees in my yard so am trying to make do.
 
pollinator
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You should be okay as fruit trees have VERY shallow roots. You can pull a apple tree stump with a farm tractor because thy barely go into the ground. With fruit trees the biggest issue is with watering. It takes a lot of water the first year to get them established, but after that they are pretty hardy.

I got a friend that raises fruit trees for the big fruit tree suppliers. I have dug at his place and he has pretty thin soil, yet he grows thousands of fruit trees per year.
 
Seth Marshall
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Travis Johnson wrote:You should be okay as fruit trees have VERY shallow roots. You can pull a apple tree stump with a farm tractor because thy barely go into the ground. With fruit trees the biggest issue is with watering. It takes a lot of water the first year to get them established, but after that they are pretty hardy..


Great to know!  And I'll be sure to water thoroughly especially in this first year (although we're entering fall so I'm assuming I won't need to water as much...  once the leaves are gone I guess?)
Unfortunately I also planted a Honey Locust in an equally bad location, but I bought it specifically for shade in a decade to come on our raised deck.  A shade tree is badly needed in this spot.  The ground may be slightly better here in that the bedrock seems to be more compressed decomposed granite.  I hope the roots can penetrate!
 
pollinator
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It might be worthwhile to try to get any other trees growing by directly sowing seed.  I would plant any trees I'd already bought and hope for the best with them, but undisturbed tap roots might be better at finding little crevices and anchoring themselves well.  I believe Sepp Holzer does this and then grafts seedling fruit trees with desired cultivars.
 
Seth Marshall
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G Freden wrote:It might be worthwhile to try to get any other trees growing by directly sowing seed.  I would plant any trees I'd already bought and hope for the best with them, but undisturbed tap roots might be better at finding little crevices and anchoring themselves well.  I believe Sepp Holzer does this and then grafts seedling fruit trees with desired cultivars.



Very interesting.  And I believe I when I was researching "planting trees on bedrock" I encountered a website explaining a specific variety of tree that does very well on bedrock was the intention of grafting the desired tree onto it.  Now I'll have to find that!

Unfortunately I this is the only area on my yard with this issue.  So I may not get the opportunity to try it out.  I just hope that Locust tree survives and is able to get a good footing.  I need it to grow tall and fast if we ever hope to get any shade!  And I certainly don't want it to fall on my house either, it gets crazy windy, sometimes up to 75MPH regularly.
 
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Devin Lavign wrote:Just a little piece of interesting observations I have seen on my land. The fir trees seem to prefer the granite rocky areas and grow in these rock formations including right into bedrock. Actually not only breaking the rock up, but twisting and spiraling it around as they grow their roots into it. I will try to get some good pics of it in a few different spots if people are interested. Some of the biggest healthiest trees on my propert and the mountain are growing into the granite bedrock.



If a tree is growing in bedrock, two things:

1) it chose to grow there, or rather hundreds of its potential siblings were scattered over a wide area as seeds and this was the only one that managed to find a spot where it could succeed
2) it started very very small and modified its environment as it grew

So seeing this and trying to replicate it with a nursery grown young adult tree is not guaranteed...

 
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