Jump to content
Complete France Forum

rocks


londoneye

Recommended Posts

having sweated buckets in the summer digging a new flower bed of approx 40 feet by 20, today i finally got to put some plants in ... and discovered that about 9 inches below surface its what i would loosely describe as rocks - sort of silvery and red colour.     i simply cant bear the thought of digging another one and have put in one plant.    however i should have a tree delivered saturday and now i am wondering if it will actually grow ?     we have about an acre and i havent actually tested anywhere else but suspect its all the same.    does anyone have any ideas please as to whether tree roots will grow around this stuff ?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi eye

Most plants will be quite happy in 9 inches of soil.  Assuming it's stones rather than solid rock, trees will be okay, too, as long as you excavate a decent sized hole where you are planting them (twice as wide and deep as the rootball) and give them some decent soil/compost mixture to get them away to a good start.  Make sure you mix the decent added soil with the stonier substrate otherwise the roots may be tempted to stay in the 'comfort zone'.  Smaller specimens will probably get away quicker and soon catch up with larger, more expensive specimens in these circumstances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks both - i think ours sounds like john D's scenario.     there are other trees scattered around our grounds, so logic should really have told me the answer, but i wanted to be sure.    i am guessing then if its limestone that i can safely assume our earth to be fairly good for growing camelias and rhodies etc ?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No!  Just the opposite!  Limestone = alkali, rhodos and (to a lesser extent) camellias need acid soil (low ph). 

To check, you can get a cheap ph testing kit from garden centres.  Make sure you take soil from 6 inches down and test several spots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

oops - steep learning curve for me with gardening, never mind everything i have done so far has mysteriously grown - i've had french neighbours hanging over fence to admire my veggies - perhaps its beginners luck.

last stupid question of day - tree is not so big - 2 to 3 metres, trunk of around 1 metre circumference, and 8/10 tige (whatever that is).    as i said expected saturday.    so far i have done back in (shovel), shoulder (pick axe), and hands (blisters!)     and i have a hole of around 2 feet diameter and about a foot deep.      any idea how big the hole has to be ?>   could wait for tree to arrive of course, but at this rate it will be planted around middle january !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello again

Trunk sounds rather thick for the height.

I suspect if it's 2-3m tall then the pot will be about 30cm diameter if it is pot grown, so a couple of feet (60cm) could be okay for your hole width;  if the tree is potbound then tease out the roots before planting otherwise they will not spread outwards so well as they grow - they'll tend to continue going round and round.

If it is bare-rooted, then the roots could be a lot wider than 2ft diameter when spread out.  It's okay to trim the roots slightly if required.

Assuming it is grown a pot, break up about 20cm of the ground in the bottom of the hole and mix in some decent compost with a fork.  Also mix in a couple of handfuls of blood, fish and bonemeal if you have any.

If exposed to wind, you may need to stake it to give extra support until the roots get a grip - staking is best done quite low down on the trunk, with a soft, flexible tie in a figure of eight to stop the stake rubbing on the trunk and damaging the bark.  This allows the upper trunk to flex in the wind and makes it stronger.  Stake should lean into the prevailing wind.

After planting don't forget to give it a good soak with a couple of buckets of water and mulch it with bark or leaf mould, even if it is raining.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Limestone might sometimes be described as silvery, but rarely red.  I suspect your rock is something entirely different. so the Rhodi's could still be OK.

Easy check for limestone/chalk - drop a drop of battery acid on it - if it fizzes immediately then in all probability it is limestone.

 

Alternatively buy a soil testing kit.

 

Where abouts are you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

about 30 minutes drive south of limoges - haute vienne region ? if that makes sense ....     i have now resorted to chucking buckets of water in the hole, and then i can hack away at what seems like solid rock, but seems to sliver off, with water.   there is also a lot of sand in between, and water doesn't drain away very quickly, if that helps !!   bit worried about the hole for swimming pool now actually, as i was planning to have all soil dug out put over ground to level it, hmmmmmmmmmm not looking such a good idea now, but no idea how deep the stuff goes, and just about all dug out now - not to mention heading for serious medical care soon over this stupid tree !!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have more holes like this and you're planning to do them by hand, see if you can get a mattock from your local DIY shop.  Looks like a squashed pickaxe head, very good for hacking up stony ground.

[img]http://www.get-digging.co.uk/mattock.gif[/img]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

thanks i fancy a rodie.    could well be granite - all i know is that its a pig of a thing to dig through !

got it all wrong as normal - tree did not have 1 metre circumference trunk - i think it was the roots !    anyway hacked away and stuffed it in a hole two weeks ago - still there !      hopefully if it withstands the winter then next spring i shall see if it is alive !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...