Hi again, I have some questions about decompactation of soil for forest garden.
I planted my first trees in my food forest , i planted these trees: Pacae, molle, casuarina, huarango , alamo and sauce . But when I planted the trees i realized that the soil was very compacted( in the places i planted the trees).
Do you think its fine what i did (planting my trees in compacted soil) ?
I was wondering how can i decompact the soil without removing the soil?
Do you think its convenient to remove( decompact the soil with the lamp) the soil before planting?
And in which way compacted soil affects the trees and the forest?
Ive read that having decompacted soil is important to increase productivity but i saw the all the fruit trees that grow near my land have compacted soil around them and they grow fine and produce fruit ok.
What do you recommend me?
What should i do in order to decompact my soil? Which cheap strategies can you recommend me ?
Mulch is always good, but you could also sow "tillage" radish a daikon radish and it does wonders for compacted soil. Just plant it and let the radish do it's thing and rot in the ground, it's a great worm fodder.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 5 years ago
I'm not to worried about compaction.
I'm assuming it's clay?
As long as the holes were dug a decent size, the soil would be plenty loosened around the trees.
By the time they've settled in and roots are venturing out into the compacted soil, I can't imagine it being a problem-
roots are incredibly powerful.
Many people say to mix compost with the soil when filling in the hole around your tree.
I never add compost to my planting holes;
aside from the organic matter breaking down and the tree ending up sinking (soil around trunk=collar rot=death in my experience)
making it rich and delicious in the hole makes it less attractive for the tree to stretch it's roots out into the compacted soil
and you also risk trees becoming rootbound if there's a major difference between the soil inside and out of the planting hole,
as the roots might keep going 'around' the hole and not 'out'.
That's one reason why it's recommended to dig tree holes square-the roots can't go round in a circle
I wouldn't worry too much for trees - their roots will eventually break through and form channels through the compacted soil. Leaf fall will naturally mulch the surface as well which should help. If you take shovel to a well established forest you won't find compacted soils. In our area the top 6 inches or so are fluffy humic leaf mould on a clay layer 100m deep. Trees thrive.
If you are worried about compaction you could plant specific cover crops like the daicon radishes suggested above, but I'd also look at getting your perennial shrub layer established. In my limited experience, for example, the comfrey I planted around some of my fruit trees has made a big difference to the soil already - I divided a crown and the soil around/beneath the roots was darker and richer than that beneath the nearby grass. We don't really have clay/compaction problems but I imagine you would see similar changes in your situation.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.