Should You Amend Soil When Planting a Tree?

You want every tree you plant to grow to be tall and beautiful. While a lot of factors determine your tree’s survival, the soil is a crucial one. But should you amend soil when planting a tree?

It might be tempting to add compost, manure, organic matter, or potting mix to the soil. They add some much-needed nutrients, so they must be good for the tree, right?

Contrary to what many might think, amending the soil in the planting hole is actually far from ideal. Read on to learn why Sacramento’s professional tree service providers advise against doing so.

Should You Amend Soil When Planting a Tree?

You want to create the best possible conditions for your tree. However, some of the measures you implement could do more harm than good.

Should you amend soil when planting a tree? The short answer is no. On top of creating unnecessary work and costs, amending the soil can set back your tree’s growth.

In extreme cases, it can even lead to your tree’s death.

What Happens When You Amend the Soil at Planting Time?

Amending the soil when planting a tree creates something arborists call the “Bathtub Effect.” This term refers to how water behaves in amended soil.

Most of the amendments that people use have large spaces between their particles. In contrast, natural soil has much smaller spaces. This difference means that amendments can retain a lot more water than natural soil.

You might be thinking, “Since my young tree needs water, the more water the soil can retain, the better.” Unfortunately, this is not the case.

When you water your tree, it doesn’t just sit there. Gravity always forces it downward and outward.

However, remember that natural soil can’t retain as much water as amended soil. This means that the drainage will be much slower. As a result, water will pool around your tree’s roots, eventually leading to root rot.

What You Can Do to Save the Tree

One sign of root rot is wilting. This symptom makes your tree look like it isn’t getting enough water. Many people are quick to add more water, thinking it will help.

Unfortunately, this only makes matters worse.

Did you amend the soil when planting your tree? Is the tree showing worrying signs? The good news is that you can save it.

Here’s how you can restore your tree’s health:

  • Remove the tree from the planting hole
  • Place it in a cool, shaded spot for the root ball to dry
  • Place a light cloth over the roots to help them dry quicker
  • Thoroughly mix the amendment with your natural soil
  • Leave the soil to dry out a bit
  • Once the roots and soil are dry, you can replant the tree

Professional Tree Service in Sacramento, CA

Amending the soil when planting a tree might seem like a good idea, but as we’ve seen, doing so doesn’t create the ideal environment you thought it did. In fact, it can even kill your tree.

Fortunately, if your tree is struggling because of the amendment, you can save it. The best part is that our skilled arborists are here to help you do that. You can trust us to provide the solutions your tree needs to thrive.

When it comes to planting trees, there are a lot of questions. For instance, should you amend soil when planting a tree? How often should you water it? Our plant health care experts can help settle all your concerns.

Call Fallen Leaf Tree today at 916-447-8733 for professional service you can depend on.

Fallen Leaf Tree Management

Expert Tree Care in the heart of Sacramento & surrounding areas with your satisfaction guaranteed. One of our Arborists can give you a comprehensive evaluation on all the trees and shrubs in your landscape and give you a scheduled maintenance plan. Call for an arborist consultation.



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