Donna &/or Kieran
holycow at cookeville.com
Thu Dec 7 22:07:23 EST 2006
I've considered trying an auger just to try to do something about our red
clay soil. I use any excuse to get holes down into the soil and put
something else in the bottom of them. I thought that with an auger I might
simply be able to make a lot more holes down into the subsoil to increase
infiltration when it rains and get some lime and organic matter down deep.
We are on a slope so I don't have to think about increasing drainage.
I have never seen what an auger does in our soil. If I were you and I
were worried, I'd ask someone with a tractor auger what they think, or get
them to dig a hole or two for you to look at. If you think you want to use
one for planting, here is what I would do:
1: If you have a drainage problem, dig about 4 more holes around each tree
you plant, so water and nutrients can get down in the general area of your
tree, not just in the hole you planted it in.
2: I'd drop plenty of high calcium lime in each hole and mix it with the
clay subsoil. I'm digging all my holes by hand, and use a long skinny spade
to mix the clay subsoil and lime as much as possible, then I usually add old
sawdust and mix some more. The calcium will improve drainage over the
surrounding soil, so you may really be risking such a drainage problem as
you might do without the calcium.
3: If you do find slick sides in your holes, I'd do the auger work when the
soil was as dry as possible, even if ou have to wait till late spring or
summer. Potted plants won't suffer too much transplant shock, you will
merely miss the chance for them to get their roots into the soil, which
could of course be a problem if you turn out to have a bad drought.
We were dry in summer, got some decent rain for once in Sept, more in
Oct, but now it's dry again, and I can dig in the garden without it being
too sticky, not that I am happy this is going on. Here in TN we are
supposed to have wet winters and dry summers. When we have dry winters, we
tend to have more severe cold and more drought in summer. (Where is El Nino
when we need him, and how can they be having a thousand year drought in
Australia with us not having rain here? ) Donna
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