Field growing soil prep

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Marysville, Washington
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#1
Ok so this might be an amateur question or an advanced topic I don't know, so here it goes.
What do you guys do to prep the ground where you will be field growing your trees? Or do you prep it.
The reason I'm asking is this next spring I will be plants several different types of deciduous trees in the ground including some air layers. But as of this moment I don't know what the soil is like where I plan on planting them.
I've only had my place for a year now and most of my yard was supposedly a beautiful garden at on point but The perimeter is mounded up and covered in large lava rock. The area I plan on growing doesn't seem to have any lava rock but it is slightly mounded.

Should I till the ground?
Add fertilizer?
Mix in some bonsai soil?
Or should I just get rid of the grass and call it good?
Maybe I'm over thinking this but I wanted to get a jump on it
Thanks
 
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Location
DFW, Texas
USDA Zone
8a
#2
Dig a hole and see what is down there. You could add some stuff depending on what your soil consists of. Just depends on how bad it is and how much money you want to spend.

Use the search too. There are lots of post where people are ground growing. Read their posts and inspect their pictures.
 
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North Carolina
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8a
#4
Try contacting experienced people in your area that are ground growing trees. That is the best advice you'll get for your area.

Some suggestions:

You can dig individual holes and fill each with the correct soil for your location and trees

You can clear the whole area out and fill it with the soil you want/need.

Either way though, before using what is there I would maybe get the soil tested if you've never grown anything in it. Just to see what you have on hand....never hurts to know. You may be able to use what is there and save tons of work.
 
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Location
Marysville, Washington
USDA Zone
8b
#5
Try contacting experienced people in your area that are ground growing trees. That is the best advice you'll get for your area.

Some suggestions:

You can dig individual holes and fill each with the correct soil for your location and trees

You can clear the whole area out and fill it with the soil you want/need.

Either way though, before using what is there I would maybe get the soil tested if you've never grown anything in it. Just to see what you have on hand....never hurts to know. You may be able to use what is there and save tons of work.
What would I even test for? Ph? Something else? I'm new to horticulture and bonsai.... risky business I know :oops: the only person near me that I know of so far is osoyoung he is about an hour away from me. Should be close enough I think.

I've been pouring over this site everyday for about a month before I even joined. So much info and so many helpful people. It's amazing. Great community
 
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North Carolina
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#7
What would I even test for? Ph? Something else? I'm new to horticulture and bonsai.... risky business I know :oops: the only person near me that I know of so far is osoyoung he is about an hour away from me. Should be close enough I think.

I've been pouring over this site everyday for about a month before I even joined. So much info and so many helpful people. It's amazing. Great community
yea contaminants etc. It may sound crazy but you don't want to go planting say 20, 30 trees only to find out there is an issue.
 

hemmy

Chumono
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Ventura Co., CA
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#8
And test for nutrient deficiencies (not likely, but probably costs about $40). But if you are getting serious and planting dozens of trees, I would have it tested.

There is also good info here on nursery tree production.

http://www.drcarlwhitcomb.com/site/...=http://drcarlwhitcomb.com/The_Info.html#2830

If they were mine, I would start them in root pruning containers for the first year and then put them to the ground. This will give them amazing dense root structure and you will be less likely to lose trees during that first 1-2 years of growing. Since you will likely be root pruning every 2-3 years, I think they can go from the pots to the ground and I don't think you would need a pot-in-pot or constriction pruning container.

I've also seen pre-bonsai growers put down a root trapping fabric to prevent down growing roots and promote flair.
 
Messages
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Location
Marysville, Washington
USDA Zone
8b
#10
Dig a hole and see what is down there. You could add some stuff depending on what your soil consists of. Just depends on how bad it is and how much money you want to spend.

Use the search too. There are lots of post where people are ground growing. Read their posts and inspect their pictures.
Any suggestions on how to word my searches? I keep getting the same old soil debates,but the are all above ground talks nothing about they ground it's going in..
 
Messages
197
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Location
Marysville, Washington
USDA Zone
8b
#11
And test for nutrient deficiencies (not likely, but probably costs about $40). But if you are getting serious and planting dozens of trees, I would have it tested.

There is also good info here on nursery tree production.

http://www.drcarlwhitcomb.com/site/5fb0b44830d9420da1434e7eb9eb3bd1/default?url=http://drcarlwhitcomb.com/The_Info.html#2830

If they were mine, I would start them in root pruning containers for the first year and then put them to the ground. This will give them amazing dense root structure and you will be less likely to lose trees during that first 1-2 years of growing. Since you will likely be root pruning every 2-3 years, I think they can go from the pots to the ground and I don't think you would need a pot-in-pot or constriction pruning container.

I've also seen pre-bonsai growers put down a root trapping fabric to prevent down growing roots and promote flair.
That's a cool website. I read the main part advertising that tree but I can wait to dig into that other information. Thanks for the info
 
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Location
North Carolina
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#12
Never tested anything like that. Are there at home tests I can buy online. Or is it a test that I send out?
You can buy test kits online there are many available. Search Soil test kit on Google. Just check reviews research and get a good one...

How many trees do you plan on planting?

I gotta crash tho. Be back on tm!
 

Elyah

Yamadori
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Rockford,IL
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#13

Elyah

Yamadori
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Location
Rockford,IL
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5b
#14
As hemmy said if they were mine grow in root pruning container I have a few seedling i'm in the same situation as you I'm going to plant in the ground with this method makes a lot of sense someone posted this link in a different thread a while ago This may be helpful to you.
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
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Houston, TX
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#15
This is what I've done in Houston. You can see the result in this thread. If you like it, the steps I used are below. Note that our soil here is a gumbo - a very smectitic clay soil. If you have a good loam, you might not have to amend the way I did. I've mostly grown maples and elms in the ground.
  1. Pick a location. I grow mine in as sunny a spot as possible, without competing trees and with good drainage (mounded)
  2. Prep the tree. For deciduous, I chop it as low as I dare, bare root the tree and work the rootball flat leaving the radial roots long. This should be done in early spring as the buds are beginning to swell
  3. Prep the hole. I dig a hole about 3-4 times or more the diameter of the span of the roots and several inches deeper than I need to cover the nebari. No reason to expose the basal flare yet. I put the diggings into a wheelbarrow. I then mix the gumbo diggings with a good quality compost and back fill around the rootball. I do not believe that there is any advantage to using bonsai soil in your garden. Work the soil in carefully around the roots. As I said, if you have a good loamy soil, you'll probably not have to amend - the important thing is that the soil is loose so the roots can grow into it.
  4. Stake the tree. Make sure it's very stable.
  5. Fertilize. I drive in several Jobes fertilizer stakes all around the perimeter of the hole that I dug and drive in several more every year
  6. Water.
I let the tree grow through the spring. In the early summer I select a leader and prune back the competing growth. If necessary I stake the leader - it's important that its growing straight up vertically.
When the diameter of the new trunk section is about 2/3 the width of the section below the chop, I prune the leader to slow it down. This may take a season or two depending on location, soil, fertilizer, water, species and how big the tree was that you chopped. Until that point, let it grow - mine send the leader 15' or more every year. The following early spring, chop it way back - as low as you need for the next trunk section. Then repeat until you have the trunk you're looking for.

Couple of additional points:
  • The location is critical - if you pick a shady spot you can add many years to your development time.
  • Chop as low as you dare - I've never felt as though I've chopped a tree too low, but I've thought I've chopped it too high many times
  • Dig the tree up once every 3 years or so and work the roots again. If you don't you'll get long root runners that will thicken too much and will take years to correct
  • Good small to medium sized trees are MUCH easier to develop than good big ones.
  • The more often you chop the slower the rate of trunk thickening, but the better the taper. Life's a trade-off
  • Cut back the weeds around your tree and make sure the area around them is clear. Don't crowd them together - it'll slow them down.
  • Read Brian's blog.
  • Read Al's blog.
  • Read Brent's articles.
  • Watch Boon's video.
  • Read relevant articles in Bonsai Today (i.e., Bonsai Today #37 about working with field-grown material).
That's all I've got - hope that helps.

Scott
 

hemmy

Chumono
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#16

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Berwyn, Il
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#17
Can I ask why that is?
It floats!

Too much rain here!

Bro... @TyroTinker I just remembered they make this stuff for rooftop gardens that is awesome....Cuz it doesn't blow away ....like turface but not. Good stuff!

I seen some trees growing great in just a rock and sand concrete mix too.

Don't stake young grow outs!

Sorce
 

Anthony

Imperial Masterpiece
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West Indies [ Caribbean ]
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13
#18
@TyroTinker ,

I will pass onto you an idea that worked very well for a Welshman living down here in the early 80's.

I add this on first, use a colander in the ground growing, makes removal easier and safer.

Additionally if large surface roots might be a bother, just rest the colander on the prepared ground
or be prepared to lift out of the ground more frequently.

The idea, dig out to a depth of 18 inches the soil. Go to about 2 feet wide. Length as you wish.

Refill with an inorganic at 8 to 10 mm and into that mix in about 1/3 or less by volume of compost.

In the case down here it was silica based gravel.

Just make sure your base of the dig drains and you don't make a pond.

In use grows trees rapidly and is easy to maintain or fertilise etc.

As the colander goes, in our grow troughs we use the smallest we can get, as it allows the tree
to master the soil very quickly and then be placed in the soil to grow on,

Keep your eye on the trees, we have a cutting here after one year at 7/8 feet and a trunk
at 3 or 4 inches, since last I looked.
Good Day
Anthony
 
Messages
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Location
Marysville, Washington
USDA Zone
8b
#19
Wow thank you everyone for your great replies.
I think I was skipping that whole colander phase just because I was getting ahead of myself and forgot.
I will search for a proper soil testing kit. I might use the one suggested.
I don't have as much room as I would like I have along my northern fence.
I plan on putting in as many trees as will fit without crowding them ( I have a decent supply of trees I can take cutttings from, or airlayer)
And thanks again for all the sources. I have a lot to read. :)
 
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Location
Marysville, Washington
USDA Zone
8b
#20
My parents live 10 mins away and they are lifelong friends with a retired nurseryman. Something I always thought was weird growing up (but now I love) is the fact that he will just randomly show up with some plants or trees and start planting them all over their place. My parents will be a great source of starter material. Unfortunately that's all it will be, because except for a few fruit trees all of the trees are put in pots and left there...
I really want to get some of their contorted filbert and shishigashira...
 

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