site logo

Planting In Mud

Categories: Soils, Fertilizers and Irrigation

Why does ground lose its vitality or its growing qualities when it is

plowed or stirred when wet, and does this act in all kinds of soil in

the same way? We are planting a fig and olive orchard at the present

time, but some were planted when the ground was extremely wet. The holes

were dug before the rain and after a heavy rain they started to plant.

After placing the trees in the holes they filled them half full with wet

/> dirt, in fact so wet that it was actually slush. What would you advise

under the circumstances and what can be done to counteract this? We have

not finished filling in the holes since the planting was done, which was

about a week ago.

The soil loses its vitality after working when too wet, because it is

thrown into bad mechanical (or physical) condition and therefore becomes

difficult of root extension and of movement of moisture and air. How

easily soil may be thrown into bad mechanical condition depends upon its

character. A light sandy loam could be plowed and trees planted as you

describe without serious injury perhaps, while such a treatment of a

clay would bring a plant into the midst of a soil brick which would

cause it to spindle and perhaps to fail outright. The best treatment

would consist in keeping the soil around the roots continually moist,

yet not too wet. The upper part of the holes should be filled loosely

and the ground kept from surface compacting. The maintenance of such a

condition during the coming summer will probably allow the trees to

overcome the mistake made at their planting, unless the soil should be a

tough adobe or other soil which has a disposition to act like cement.