To Add Compost or Not...

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by pblc, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. pblc

    pblc LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 227

    I'm installing a landscape for a client. The current soil is less than satisfactory. The house is built in an area that was built up from digging out a pond and using this soil. It wasn't done right so therefore the good topsoil is under about 6 feet of fill - mainly clay. For me to ensure the plants for at least a year I considered putting compost around them. However if this compost wasn't made correctly I'd stand the chance of burning them up. I was told by a couple of landscape guys to just use a good slow release fert and plant them. As long as we till the soil up really good and the plants get ample water (a irrigation system is in place) they will live.

    What are your thoughts - how would you handle it? Also, what's a good slow release fert to use - what numbers....? Thanks.
     
  2. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    I would add the compost and till it in. I use it even if the soil is decent to begin with and the results are great. If your compost has a strong....very strong and pungent smell, then it may not be done. If it smells earthy, like you would expect, then it should be fine.
     
  3. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Been a gardener for over 40 years and I add compost to every planting. Besides fertilizing the plants organically, it also is a great soil conditioner. Use it in abundance and often.
     
  4. silverado212

    silverado212 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 373

    till in about 2" of compost approx. 6" deep and water plants in should be fine if not over watered
     
  5. LTL

    LTL LawnSite Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 98

    For me to ensure the plants for at least a year I considered putting compost around them.

    I have been out of the landscape business for a while now but this seems to be completely backwards. Is your only basis for amending the soil with compost so the plants don't die within a year and you have to replace them under warranty? What about the overall health of the plant over the years? What about making the client happy with a long lasting beautiful landscape? If your only concern is that you hope the plants don't die within the year warranty period, then your business mentality may need some adjustment.
     
  6. LTL

    LTL LawnSite Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 98

    "For me to ensure the plants for at least a year I considered putting compost around them."

    I have been out of the landscape business for a while now but this seems to be completely backwards. Is your only basis for amending the soil with compost so the plants don't die within a year and you have to replace them under warranty? What about the overall health of the plant over the years? What about making the client happy with a long lasting beautiful landscape? If your only concern is that you hope the plants don't die within the year warranty period, then your business mentality may need some adjustment.[/QUOTE]
     
  7. pblc

    pblc LawnSite Member
    from South
    Posts: 227

    Ha. Thanks for the business advice. Really wasn't what I asked though......
     
  8. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,519

    I thought that unless you're a chef, the answer to the question "Do I add compost?" was ALWAYS yes.
     
  9. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    bingo!!!!!!!
     
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,740

    Do not just add compost to the plant backfill in a clay soil. What often happen in poorly draining clay soils is that water will enter the soil around the plant in that amended soil, but the clay can act like a bucket and cause more problems than not amending the soil.
     

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