New Propagation Beds

Midwest Landscape Designs

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
I am setting up new propagation beds in a new location and would like your opinion. I recently tore down the old stables and the base material appears to be crushed limestone. My concern is that the acidity of the limestone may affect the sand/potting soil above by wicking up through capillary action. I would like to know if this is problem before I start.

Thanks in advance.
 
OP
Midwest Landscape Designs

Midwest Landscape Designs

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
These beds will be a long term development to supplement the expansion of my plant sales. I am looking to move from 100% resale to an equal division of cuttings, liners, and resale. The resale side will be patented plants. The cuttings and liners will be native shrubs, perennials, and grasses.

The property is 4.5 acres that is zoned agricultural. The entire lot is turf right now, but race horses were once breed here in the 70's and 80's. The stables were in such bad shape that they had to be taken down. I have removed 3-4" of the crushed limestone already as the previous owner kept adding more without completely mucking out the old stone. There is probably another 3-4" of crushed limestone before getting to the gravel base.

So, the main reasons I thought about using this space is because it is close to power and water, has great drainage, and great weed suppression as nothing grows on crushed limestone. That last part is what worries me and the fear that the cutting may be harmed once they root far enough down.
 
OP
Midwest Landscape Designs

Midwest Landscape Designs

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
With a little extra research, I guess I'll answer my own question and share it with you. The first thing that I'll have to admit is that I seem to have forgotten my chemistry. On that note, sand is inert, sterile, and has a pH of 7. The crushed limestone is calcium carbonate and will raise the pH level if moisture is wicked up from the base. So, I may add a bit of peat moss to counter that since peat moss is acidic.

If anyone would like to add to this, I would like some feedback.
 

hort101

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
S.E. New England
With a little extra research, I guess I'll answer my own question and share it with you. The first thing that I'll have to admit is that I seem to have forgotten my chemistry. On that note, sand is inert, sterile, and has a pH of 7. The crushed limestone is calcium carbonate and will raise the pH level if moisture is wicked up from the base. So, I may add a bit of peat moss to counter that since peat moss is acidic.

If anyone would like to add to this, I would like some feedback.
I'm curious about the size and depth of the beds?
 
OP
Midwest Landscape Designs

Midwest Landscape Designs

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
The beds that I am building will be 27" x 96" and roughly 6" deep. I chose these dimensions based on materials and the ease of erecting an overwintering film cover for next year's softwood cuttings and potted plants.
 

heritage

Inactive
Location
New Jersey
Midwest,

With the soils you describe it's best to keep the Calcifuge groups and Calcicole groups separate.

The peat addition in the Calcifuge beds is a good idea.

Do some soil tests before you begin, so you have your Baseline to work from.

Buy yourself the book by Carl E Whitcomb, Ph.D. "Production Of Landscape Plants"

You can find an old copy on Amazon books.

Best of luck with your growing plants.
 

dKoester

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Chesapeake VA
What kind of plants are you going to propagate?
 
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