I would appreciate some soil advice on how to turn around a disappointing first year for a new orchard. I acquired a small 2 acre patch of land in an area in NE Ohio (zone 6a) which I assumed to have good soil because there are a handful of commercial orchards in the area. I am learning that unfortunately my soil isn't as good as I hoped.
I followed the recommendations on how to plant the trees, ie digging a wide hole, mixing 50-50 native soil, mulching etc, but the trees have failed to thrive. Out of the 60 or so plants I have, only a couple are thriving with lots of new growth, 30 are getting by but look stressed, a dozen are fighting to survive, and the rest are either already dead or have long odds of making it through the winter.
Persimmon - A
Quince - A
Seaberries - B
Apples - B
Hazelnuts - B
Peaches - C+
Sour Cherries - C+
Apricots - C
European Plums - D
Hardy kiwis - D
Grapes - D
Currants/gooseberries - D-
I got a soil test that says it a heavy clay soil. pH = 5.9, with low levels of phosphorus 8ppm, average Potassium 96ppm, and very high Magnesium >200ppm, and only 4.1 organic matter. After I got the results, I sprinkled a few handfuls of crushed limestone around each tree to try to increase the pH but not much else.
Is there a good way to add organic matter quickly and improve soil texture? I already have a thick layer of mulch around each tree, but it will take a while to break down. I plan on adding some aged manure once the trees go dormant, but just putting it on top will take time for it to work down too right? I am afraid going back and working these into the soil with disturb what root growth there was this year. I also have a comfrey patch going to mulch with in the future, but is still a year or two away. What can I do now?
I can get some P heavy fertilizer to increase levels, but what do I do about the Magnesium being too high? And is that even a problem?
Greatly appreciative of any and all advice!