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Severely compacted sandy soil in planting area of new small pines

14 years ago

We just had three pines (sylvestris Jeremy, densiflora Jane Kluis, parviflora Gimborns) planted by a nursery in the island in our driveway. Our entire site is sand, but I discovered the day after they planted these when I was trying to dig holes to add a couple of rose bushes near the pines, that this area is hard as a rock, apparently from all of the heavy trucks going back and forth over it while we were building.

I finally got the 2 holes dug, but after filling them to the top with water, the level had only dropped about 1-2 inches in about 6 hours. I forgot to check it this morning, and we were gone all day, but I just went out with a flashlight to look, and the bottom is muddy looking. Since it was sunny and about 84 today, I'm guessing that it took the ~12" deep and wide holes over 24 hours to drain.

We understand that pines must have good drainage, and don't like a lot of water. Although they were planted in a raised position, they must be sitting in a bowl that drains as slowly as the holes I dug. I assume that's harmful to them if we get heavy rains? My husband has ordered some of those watering bags to place around them, but will they be ok, and how often should we use them on the pines? If not ok, what should we do?

Would it help to drill holes with the post hole digger to break up some of the area around the pines? Do we have to remove the pines and dig up the entire area? That would be difficult and expensive both due to the size of the root ball on the Jane Kluis, and the small size of the island (teardrop shaped 9-1/2' x 25') that is surrounded by asphalt. But we don't want to lose the plants.

Suggestions from anyone who really knows pines, water requirements, and soils would be greatly appreciated!



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