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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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Just built 3 raised stone beds for planting and need to populate them with soil. American Soil & Mulch in Cary has a compost-blend soil ($25 cu yard) and another without compost mix ($17 cu yard). My question is this, is it necessary or better to buy the compost blend for $8 per cu yard more as opposed to just buying a few bags of fertilizer .... or would the compost blend be too potent for planting Ligustrum and Arborvitae. I know there are a lot of members here in the Triangle that are pretty experienced at this planting stuff so I would appreciate your feedback and advise on this ... Thx
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:18 AM
 
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We have always bought a landscapers blend for soil, which include a lot of organic material. While it's great for plants, the best benefit is that it's easy to work with. Our experience with "regular" topsoil is that it clumps due to clay content.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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You could probably go either way when it comes to basic shrubs, but I would prefer the soil / compost blend. Easier to work with, and better soil structure to help with draining. It's nice to have good organic material mixed in with your raised beds. Makes for some great soil to work with for years to come as other mulch and dead plants break down and continue adding organic content.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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I always buy by the bag to fill my beds and use a mixture of several different types of compost (wider variety of nutrients), peat moss and topsoil. The peat moss makes it lighter and easier for the roots to grow deep. Mel Bartholomew (author of Square Foot Gardening) recommends also including vermiculite or perlite. I used vermiculite once and decided it was unnecessary but you might want to try it. If you wanted to incorporate the peat moss and/or vermiculite you can have them dump the compost mix in a flat area and mix it using a large tarp, then move into the beds.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
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You'd be best off with both the compost and the fertilizer. :-) Compost more about soil structure (as pps have mentioned) and micronutrients than "feeding" the plants. Compost feeds the soil, fertilizer feeds the plants.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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Whatever you buy be sure to mix in some of the existing soil/clay when you put dirt around the new plantings. You dont want the tree to struggle with adapting to whatever is beneath the good stuff you buy.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Why are you building raised beds for trees and giant shrubs? I just usually see those planted straight in the ground. The ligustrum in particular do fine here w/o any amendments or special care. I usually see quite overgrown specimens. You know the Arbor Vitae can get very, very large depending on the variety — up to 60 ft. People use them as landscaping barriers like leland cypress, but my grandmother in the mts used to have two giant arborvitae trees at her gate that I loved to climb in as a child. You might want to doublecheck the suitability of this region for arborvitae. The maps I'm seeing online indicate that zone 7 is the warmest recommended. We're in zone 7a or 7b or 8 depending on where you're posting from. http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/...d-nc-just.html

Last edited by poppydog; 04-22-2013 at 09:47 AM..
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post
Why are you building raised beds for trees and giant shrubs? I just usually see those planted straight in the ground. The ligustrum in particular do fine here w/o any amendments or special care. I usually see quite overgrown specimens. You know the Arbor Vitae can get very, very large depending on the variety — up to 60 ft. People use them as landscaping barriers like leland cypress, but my grandmother in the mts used to have two giant arborvitae trees at her gate that I loved to climb in as a child. You might want to doublecheck the suitability of this region for arborvitae. The maps I'm seeing online indicate that zone 7 is the warmest recommended. We're in zone 7a or 7b or 8 depending on where you're posting from. Warmth-loving plants find N.C. winters just right | Health & Science | NewsObserver.com
I am doing raised bed because the ground in that spot has huge harden clay that turned into stones. In addition, the surface is just hard.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by Jamerican View Post
I am doing raised bed because the ground in that spot has huge harden clay that turned into stones. In addition, the surface is just hard.
In that case if it were me I would lay down thick layers of newspaper and wet them down really well before filling your beds. Earthworms will be attracted to the paper and even that rocky soil will get broken down over time. This will allow the plant roots to go deeper and they will be healthier for it. It will also block any weeds from growing through the soil. Even in rocky soil you can have bermuda grass grow through it.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
In that case if it were me I would lay down thick layers of newspaper and wet them down really well before filling your beds. Earthworms will be attracted to the paper and even that rocky soil will get broken down over time. This will allow the plant roots to go deeper and they will be healthier for it. It will also block any weeds from growing through the soil. Even in rocky soil you can have bermuda grass grow through it.
I am planning on using the landscape fabric instead of the paper because I do not have much newspaper since I read my news online .... I hope that is okay too ... what do you think?
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