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Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-18-2008, 06:14 PM
We have put in sp far around 60 leyland cypress trees around the front of our property. We put them in back in early summer. They have done great so far, but lately we have had an abundant of rain. Now the trees are turning from their normal dark green to more of a yellowish green. Our soil is made up of alot of clay so I know the ground is retaining too much water. Is there anything I can do to help correct this, or will they heal over time? I have another 180 that I am ready to plant, but want to make sure they will be ok first.

triadpm
12-18-2008, 06:36 PM
I mix some sand and or peat moss in the soil to help with drainage.

White Gardens
12-18-2008, 07:52 PM
Get either a bulb auger or small 2 cycle auger and drill holes or a bigger hole below the root ball and fill the core up with sand to help drain water away from the base of the roots. You would probably get better depth if you dig the hole first, then auger a hole in the bottom.

As long as you go deep enough to get past the hard pan, the water will flow away some and help get the trees established.

Also, make sure your digging your holes for the trees twice as wide and deep as the root ball, and amend the back fill well.

Back home on the farm, we would put a large post hole digger on the back of a tractor, and auger holes in wet spots in fields. It helps for about 8 years at a time before you have to do it again, or finally get a field tile in.

Dreams To Designs
12-19-2008, 11:31 AM
Although the suggestions you have received might seem to make sense, and have probably been done for years, these are not the solutions to your problem. To start, Leyland Cypress will not grow in wet soils! Their very fibrous root system will suffocate quickly in heavy wet clay soils. The addition of sand would need to be at a 50% volume of the entire area to start to make a difference in the soil texture and the addition of peat moss, which holds more water, has no nutritional value and will increase the acidity of your planting holes, will also be detrimental.

If you have no other choice than to plant Leylands, mounding, berming and drainage will be your best solution as well in every situation adding compost will be the most helpful step to create better soil structure. A better solution with similar results would be the use of Green Giant Arborvitae which will adapt and grow in wetter soils, has a similar growth rate and habit of a Leyland, but has proven to be more pest and disease resistant.

If you are able to find a permeable layer of soil, as WG has suggested, drainage will be your easiest and least expensive long term solution, if you must go with Leylands. Not sure where Jackson is, but most of my work in North Carolina found nothing but more clay the deeper you dug, unless near the I95 corridor or cost. Out west, you also get to deal with clay, rock and ledge.

Kirk

White Gardens
12-19-2008, 11:53 AM
Although the suggestions you have received might seem to make sense, and have probably been done for years, these are not the solutions to your problem. To start, Leyland Cypress will not grow in wet soils! Their very fibrous root system will suffocate quickly in heavy wet clay soils. The addition of sand would need to be at a 50% volume of the entire area to start to make a difference in the soil texture and the addition of peat moss, which holds more water, has no nutritional value and will increase the acidity of your planting holes, will also be detrimental.

If you have no other choice than to plant Leylands, mounding, berming and drainage will be your best solution as well in every situation adding compost will be the most helpful step to create better soil structure. A better solution with similar results would be the use of Green Giant Arborvitae which will adapt and grow in wetter soils, has a similar growth rate and habit of a Leyland, but has proven to be more pest and disease resistant.

If you are able to find a permeable layer of soil, as WG has suggested, drainage will be your easiest and least expensive long term solution, if you must go with Leylands. Not sure where Jackson is, but most of my work in North Carolina found nothing but more clay the deeper you dug, unless near the I95 corridor or cost. Out west, you also get to deal with clay, rock and ledge.

Kirk

Totally agree 100% with your post.

I get so ticked off every time I go to a home built in the last 10 years. Everybody uses clay for their back-fill and only 2 inches of top soil on top. Then that's all been done before a 100 different contractors have use the yard for a parking lot.

White Gardens
12-19-2008, 11:54 AM
Although the suggestions you have received might seem to make sense, and have probably been done for years, these are not the solutions to your problem. To start, Leyland Cypress will not grow in wet soils! Their very fibrous root system will suffocate quickly in heavy wet clay soils. The addition of sand would need to be at a 50% volume of the entire area to start to make a difference in the soil texture and the addition of peat moss, which holds more water, has no nutritional value and will increase the acidity of your planting holes, will also be detrimental.

If you have no other choice than to plant Leylands, mounding, berming and drainage will be your best solution as well in every situation adding compost will be the most helpful step to create better soil structure. A better solution with similar results would be the use of Green Giant Arborvitae which will adapt and grow in wetter soils, has a similar growth rate and habit of a Leyland, but has proven to be more pest and disease resistant.

If you are able to find a permeable layer of soil, as WG has suggested, drainage will be your easiest and least expensive long term solution, if you must go with Leylands. Not sure where Jackson is, but most of my work in North Carolina found nothing but more clay the deeper you dug, unless near the I95 corridor or cost. Out west, you also get to deal with clay, rock and ledge.

Kirk

Totally agree 100% with your post.

I get so ticked off every time I go to a home built in the last 10 years. Everybody uses clay for their back-fill and only 2 inches of top soil on top. Then that's all been done before a 100 different contractors have use the yard for a parking lot.

Digging holes is the first and cheapest thing to start out with. Sometimes you get lucky and find a permeable layer, and sometimes you don't.

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-19-2008, 11:59 AM
Jacksonville is located near the coast. For the most part our area has decent soil. However on our land, some areas you could dig down 2' and never hit clay, others 6" down you will. I know not to do Petemoss, and where we are going to put the remaining 180 at I don't foresee a problem as the soil is better. Its basically the ones I planted in the summer I'm worrying about. We have just had a lot more rain then usual and its started to take its toll. For the one's that are starting to turn is what I'm wanting to save.

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-19-2008, 12:04 PM
White Gardens: do you think it would help if I went around the base of the trees already planted with a bulb auger?

topsites
12-19-2008, 12:04 PM
I'm sorry but a clay soil doesn't retain more water than regular dirt,
matter of fact it retains less due to the high compaction,
a clay soil is far denser than dirt hence there is less space for water,
or anything else for that matter, such as roots.

Their very fibrous root system will suffocate quickly in heavy wet clay soils.

That would be due to compaction, fibrous means it is a delicate system with hair-like extensions which need room to BREATHE,
the clay is thus suffocating the plant and that would be more than likely part of the problem.

Now if it's too much water then it's too much water, but clay doesn't retain more,
breaking up the clay would increase the soil's water retention ability, however it would
also increase the soil's ability to disperse water meaning it would have a more even
dispersal rate and thus the easy solution is to treat the clay.

BrandonV
12-19-2008, 04:34 PM
I mix some sand and or peat moss in the soil to help with drainage.

peat moss holds water, don't use it in clay. most likely you've gotten them too deep in the soil or they've been too heavily mulched. if you went real heavy w/ the hardwood mulch the soil might have dipped more acid and that too could cause the yellowing (LIME AWAY), unfortunately most likely it's too late for the leylands and most of evergreens (conifers and etc) are pretty much on their last legs before they send out any signals of unhappiness. also how big of a yard to you have to have planted 60 leylands???? all the best to ya and good luck!

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-19-2008, 05:45 PM
7 acres and we are running them as a border around our property. There fixing to develop 2,800 homes around us so we're doing this for privacy. Trees aren't mulched or anything like that. Tomscreek, any chance I can get you to email me a list of the plants you offer and prices? Not too happy with what we've been buying here lately, and would rather just buy in bulk from now on and stock them here.

White Gardens
12-19-2008, 06:57 PM
White Gardens: do you think it would help if I went around the base of the trees already planted with a bulb auger?


It might help some, but you might not be able to get deep enough. If you could rent something a little bigger, with a 3-4 inch auger that could also go 2-3 feet deep.

Even if you use a bulb auger, you might run into some bigger material that might slip the clutch, or worse, twist/break a hand.

Regardless, anything will help until you get good establishment.

Also, never hurts to get a soil sample done also.Thumbs Up

AGLA
12-19-2008, 08:03 PM
Clay does prevent water movement. The voids between particles are smaller, so it can contain less volume of water. But, the smaller void hold the water much more tightly. Clay absorbs water slowly, but it does not like to give it up to larger particled soil unless it is saturated. Clay can be very wet with completely dry sand under it.

When you dig holes in clay and fill them in with looser soil it tends to act like a bucket unless you break through to a looser soil (like has been said). It would probably be better to not ammend the soil if you can't break through to another soil type.

I would also agree with the person who mentioned that the symptoms are also similar to being planted too deep.

Another action could be to raise the soils around the plants outside of the area of the original hole in order to make a dike to keep surface water from entering the amended soil.

BrandonV
12-20-2008, 10:16 AM
7 acres and we are running them as a border around our property. There fixing to develop 2,800 homes around us so we're doing this for privacy. Trees aren't mulched or anything like that. Tomscreek, any chance I can get you to email me a list of the plants you offer and prices? Not too happy with what we've been buying here lately, and would rather just buy in bulk from now on and stock them here.

I'd be happy to, if we had such a list :-) we grow/stock around 1000 varieties of plants, and some we have big numbers of and some we don't. If you click on our webpage (under my name) you can click on the "plant database" button on the bottom, that will bring up a search menu and you can browse through that. it'll show exactly the prices and sizes we have in our computer, only problem with that is sometimes we run out, but it'll give you an idea. You might look into the cryptomeria japonica 'yoshino' if you like the leylands, this is a hardier less troublesome plant with a similar look. but if you wind up redoing some of your border, I'd avoid using all the same plant. this way when a disease or pest (ie bagworms) move in you're not wiped out.

Dreams To Designs
12-20-2008, 11:21 AM
Brandon brings up an excellent point about overplanting of a single species can lead to total devastation when a pest or disease problems occur, not to mention the monotonously boring look. Mix in a few other plants, like Green Giant Arborvitae, Cryptomeria or other large needled evergreens to complete your screening, but add some interest and sustainability. You can likely find some inexpensive broad leafed evergreens as well.

You can perform a simplified perk test by using a post hole digger, or an auger to bore some holes in the area you want to plant. Dig down about 2'-3', fill with water and determine how long they take to drain. When removing the soil, examine and attempt to determine the texture, whether clay, flat flake like consistency, sand, small irregular rock like consistency or loam, a combination with organic matter. As AGLA stated, a clay layer directly above a sand layer will become totally saturated before allowing the water to seep down into the sand layer, similar to a sponge. A sponge will hold as much water as it can, before releasing that water via gravity. Adding compost to clay soils creates aggregation which bonds the clay together in clump like structures, which creates greater pore space and channels for free water to move down through the soil more quickly.

Kirk