Planting Trees In Alkali Soil

My land contains a considerable quantity of both the black and white

alkalies, the upper two feet being a rather heavy, sticky clay, the next

three feet below being fine sand, containing more or less alkali, while

immediately underneath this sand is a dense black muck in which, summer

and winter, is found the ground-water. Do you think the following method

of setting trees would be advantageous. Excavate for each tree a hole

three feet in diameter and three feet deep. Fill in a layer of three or

four inches of coarse hay, forming a lining for the excavation. Then

fill the hole with sandy loam in which the tree is to be set. The sandy

loam would give the young tree a good start, while the lining of hay

would break up the capillary attraction between the filled-in sand and

the ground-water in the surrounding alkali-charged soil.

The fresh soil which you put in would before long be impregnated through

the surface evaporation of the rising moisture, which your straw lining

would not long exclude. The trees would not be permanently satisfactory

under such conditions as you describe, though they might grow well at

first. It would be interesting, of course, to make a small-scale

experiment to demonstrate what would actually occur and it would,

perhaps, give you a chance to sell out to a tenderfoot.

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