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Double dug beds?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by lawnboy82, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    How many of you guys do double dug beds? I heard about this in my soils class today, and wondered if anybody on here practiced this.
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Never did it. Waste of time. Also wrong or a waste - Pruning back transplanted trees, tree staking and soil amendments for planting holes.

    I have a BS in Hort and old procedures always seemed wrong to me for technical reasons I won't elaborate on.

    University of Oklahoma I think, did transplant tests on trees some years ago. Unpruned trees established faster and were light years ahead of pruned ones 5 years after transplanting. Leaves do photosynthesis which feeds the roots. Removing leaves cuts food production.

    On staking, having a tree move slightly, stresses the roots on the windward side nmaking it anchor better and establish quicker. With a proper size ball properly installed, trees will seldon go down.

    Artificially changing backfill material is of no value and maybe a problem. To thrive, the plant must grow in the native soil not what's in the hole.

    In heavy soils, backfilling with a lighter mix can be detrimental because the mix area can become waterlogged around the ball while the heavy native soil keeps it trapped.

    One thing I did like when I landscaped was using slow release fertilizer briquets uunder and around the ball as per manufacturer directions. Makes stuff grow nice.
  3. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Can you explain the double dug bed concept to me. I'm pretty sure we are on the same track, but not positive.

  4. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Guido -

    Double digging a bed is when you take an area, a future garden let's say, and work in soil amendments. It's more complicated than that, however.

    Let's say this garden is going to be 10' wide by 10' long. If you were to double dig it, you'd remove about 10" of soil in a strip about 16" wide or so, the length of the garden. Pil that soil to one side. Fill that hole halfway with manure, compost, etc, about a third of the way up. Use a spade or small tiller to mix it with the soil below.

    Now you have a 16" wide trench, 6-7" deep (the other 3" is filled with a mix of native soil and other goodies).

    Next, you move over and dig another trench next to the first, placing the spoils from that trench into the first. Remix the first trench. Do to the second trench what you did to the first, adding amendments, then moving to the next strip of garden.

    When you get to the end, use some of the soil from the first strip excavation to fill that one in. When you're done you'll have some native soil left over. It can either be worked in or discarded.

    As for doing it in beds - I guess it'd depend on what it was for. If it was for trees, I'd agree with HB - too much work for little value. But I'd disagree if it was for some annuals or perennials, or a veggie garden. Then it'd be perfect for the root systems of those plants.

    And to answer your original Q lawnboy, I haven't double-dug in a few years.
  5. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    Stonehenge & HB, the professor had been saying that this was good for basically what stonehenge said it was good for. However he too, no longer practices this, because of the wasted time, the pain, and having to make sure that nobody walked on it. Another name for this proceedure is "bastard trenching"
  6. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    I've heard of doing this for vegetable gardens.
    The thought is to increase yeilds.

    But I have never thought of landscapes as "harvest" oriented.

    Maybe I'm missing something.
    I dunno...

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