Planting shrubs in heavy clay border?

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by Sophocles, May 23, 2020 at 3:45 PM.

  1. Sophocles

    Sophocles Apprentice Gardener

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    27C582C6-9DD7-4430-BBB5-2C8FC589C385.jpegC95CDEBA-423A-444B-929C-EDFF0372ACD1.jpeg Hi all,

    I’d like to plant a bunch of shrubs around the border of my lawn. It’s compacted clay and awful drainage (see pics)

    Is this possible or is it a no go? :)

    Thanks!
     
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    • Graham B

      Graham B Gardener

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      Give it a good dig over to break up the compaction. Digging in some compost will help to stop it recompacting and encourage worms to loosen it up.

      After that, make sure you dig the hole about twice the size of the pot, and a couple of inches deeper, and fill round the plant with a planting mixture of 50:50 compost and soil. That helps get the roots of the plant to grow out of the pot compost and into the surrounding soil.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Total Gardener

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        Would generally agree with @Graham B , but our concern with such hard clay all around would be if the hole acted as a sump and risk waterlogging any plant.

        Perhaps large tubs would be better ..? as seen in the TV gardening programs, lots of folk have massive plants, shrubs and even trees in just planters, tubs, raised beds etc.

        Like the lawn stripes ...:biggrin:
         
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        • Graham B

          Graham B Gardener

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          As Ricky says, if you don't break up the compaction first then you're screwed.

          I've revived two gardens which were very badly compacted heavy clay. In both of them, a bit of solid work with a fork and the addition of compost turned things around. A year later, the soil had gone from vile sulphur-smelling grey horribleness to black, sweet and full of worms.

          Planting mixture is vital though, otherwise the roots hit the soil, say "sod that", and turn right back around again. I learnt that from bitter experience, losing a number of plants from trying to cut corners.
           
        • Sophocles

          Sophocles Apprentice Gardener

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          Cheers both.

          Torn between both answers . I’ll have a think. The shrubs on the left of the garden pic seem to do alright in it, but this garden has been a nightmare for flooding and appreciate that it may be a bit of a gamble.

          Thanks about the lawn stripes :)
           
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            Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 9:14 PM
          • ricky101

            ricky101 Total Gardener

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            Well only you really know how easy or hard your clay soil is to work with.

            If you are young and fit, you could have a go, but at our age we would have to take the easy route :):old:

            Pots would help avoid the problem of the clay and flooding, as would a raised bed and it could at least make the sub clay available if you attacked it before fitting the bed.
             
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