How to plant your cedar hedge in poorly drained soil

Thuja has good tolerance to many types of soil. However, they must be drain properly, contrary to a popular belief claiming that the Thuja grow in water: « Drown them! » will say some of your neighbors.

Soil compaction increases soil density and decreases porosity. In other words, it provides physical resistance to rooting and causes root asphyxia.

Some clues that can help you diagnose problematic soil:

  • Before planting, observe the section concerned. After heavy rains, does your soil drain properly or is there some accumulations of water? The very slow infiltration of surface water and the absence of earthworms are a good indication.
  • In addition, a clay soil works a little like plasticine: you can roll it into a ball that will spread under the pressure of the fingers rather than crumble.

Planting cedars, like most plants, is more precarious in poorly drained or compacted soil. Ideally, the situation should be permanently corrected by installing a drainage system or by raising your lot, but since these changes are usually complex and expensive, another approach can often be considered: elevated plantation.

  1. Dig a trench with a depth equivalent to two-thirds of the height of the root ball and a width equal to twice its width. Keep some of the soil removed and mix it with good, slightly sandy brown garden soil, commonly known as “topsoil”. This will avoid creating a pit where surface water would tend to spill. In addition, since plant roots adapt to the nature of the soil they encounter, they may not venture beyond the boundary if there were too many differences between two layers of soil. An intermediate mixture between the two zones allows the roots to adapt.
  2. Fill the trench with soil up to a little more than half. Water to fill the air pockets that could have formed. When the water has drained, add potting soil to the level of the collar, but do not cover it, and compact the soil around the roots. If necessary, use more soil to shape a small mound. Make sure the collar is still clear and the roots are well covered with soil.
  3. Stake or hold the hedge at your fence with a rope if you are exposed to the wind. Cedars should not move until they take root. This is one of the reasons why we recommend the “topsoil” instead of a plantation soil that would be too light.
  4. To avoid increasing ventilation and soil drainage problems, do not apply mulch, or very little if you still want a nice finish. In this case, a forest compost could be used in small quantities. Over time, it could improve the quality of your soil.
  5. Do you still have questions? Contact us! It will be our pleasure to help you.

A few tips

  • Handle cedars with care;
  • Avoid extreme temperatures;
  • Do not bury the branches or the collar of the cedars;
  • Do not shorten the roots;

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