Monday, March 21, 2016

Amending Flower Beds - Or Any Planting Area

While driving around the Lowcountry, I have noticed a lot of planting this spring, so here is a recipe for amending the soil for flower beds. You could use the same recipe for trees and shrubs with some slight modification. Test soil first, if possible. Wait 30 days to plant, if possible.

Amend whole area not just the hole! With trees and shrubs do not till deeper than the root ball of the plants you are planting. Once the amendments settle you do not want your plant planted too deep.  This recipe is based on per 100 sq. ft. of planting area:
·         Mule Mix (Turface)– 200 lbs. per 100 sqft.  Mule Mix is super-heated calcified clay.  Mule Mix helps improve drainage and reduces compaction.  Mule Mix will last in the soil for over 20 years.  The particle can hold its weight in water and then releases it slowly as the plant needs it.  We have used this product to correct many water issues (too wet and too dry – it is like a thermos knows whether to dry or wet) over the years.
·         Bolster 04-04-04 Sustane – 2.5 lbs. per 100 sqft.  This product will increases fertilizer efficiency and improves soil biology.  It contains mycorrhiza spores increasing the ability for the roots absorb nutrients and water. Also contains biostimulants and iron.
·         SeaHume – 1.5 lbs. per 100 sqft. Humic acid and seaweed. Super product for establishing plants. Stimulates growth of beneficial microorganisms and root growth. Over 60 minor nutrients, amino acids, gibberellins and much, much more.  
·         Cotton Burr Compost – (4) 3 cu.ft. bags per 100 sq.ft. (sandy soil, increase to (6) bags).  Cotton Burr Compost is nature’s perfect soil conditioner.  The cotton boll (burr) is full of nutrients and will not tie up nitrogen like wood and wood-based soil amendments.  It will loosen up clay soils and add water holding capacities to sandy soils (also like a thermos!).  Cotton Burr is an excellent food source for beneficial soil organisms that help make nutrients available to plants, aerate the soil and helps keep harmful organisms and diseases in check. 
·         Flower Bed Amendment – (5) 1 cu.ft. bags per 100 sqft (in sand, increase to (8) bags).  This product not only contains Cotton Burrs, but also composted cattle manure, feather meal, cotton seed meal and alfalfa meal.  Alfalfa meal is high in nitrogen and contains Triacantanol, a natural root growth enhancer, and may help in the suppression and control of certain fungal diseases.
·         Diehard Transplant – inoculates soil with beneficial fungi, bacteria, and Trichoderma. Seaweed, humic acid, wetting agents and root promoting vitamins, and amino acids. Put Diehard Transplant in direct contact with the root system, so the mycorrhizal fungi will colonize the roots quickly.

Mix these products together and till into 6-8 inches of soil.  With clay soil, you should have 1/3 amendments and 2/3 clay.  With sandy soil, it should be ½ amendments and ½ sand. For trees and shrubs adjust depth according to root ball size.

After tilling the bed, top dress with (4) bags of Natures Blend and then (2) bags of Cotton Burr Compost. For annuals cap it off with one pound of 17-00-09. Plant annuals through this top dressed area. With this mixture, every time you water your plants are getting a “compost tea” full of nutrients.

Test your soil after 30 days and add any other amendments that your soil test indicates you need.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.