Eric Hanson wrote:Whenever I plant a tree I always dig a nice, deep, broad hole. In my case I was planting rootstock so digging was a bit easier. I dug my holes, brought over a few bags of topsoil and manure (I get this from the big box store), and then mix the clay I dug up 50:50 with a mixture of equal parts manure and topsoil. I try to break up clay clumps as much as possible. I also add in a bit of bonemeal for improved rooting. Then I backfill the hole with the soil mixture, stick the little tree in and cover everything with more soil mixture, pack down and put in a growing stake. Make certain the hole is nice and deep, partly to ensure good drainage and water thoroughly.
I'm going to be doing this as well as your wine cap suggestion and also mulching with hardwood as Redhawk suggested. Planting a Contender, currently in a pot and about 5'-6' tall. I'm wondering how deep and wide I should amend the soil to prevent the root circling issue mentioned? I have very heavy clay/loam for about a foot down, and then solid clay. I was thinking of roto-tilling pine bark and/or shredded mulch into the clay starting at the depth of the solid clay to 12" below that (maybe adding a slow release source of nitrogen to counteract the decomp), then doing your 50/50 mix of clay/manure/topsoil from the surface to where the clay starts. Good idea or should I go deeper? Asking for failure? Any alternate suggestions? If that plan is feasible I'm not sure if I should worry about settling as the bark/mulch/solid clay mixture broke down.