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Help - Enkianthus and Ericaceous soil


 
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idioticlee
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Kerry

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:03 am    Post subject: Help - Enkianthus and Ericaceous soil Reply with quote

As a novice gardener I am constantly stumped about soil preferences for specific plants. My soil is a common and garden mix of the stones and pencil that was there to start, and bog ordinary topsoil, compost and manure that I have added since I started my garden. I dont know enough to work out the pH content of my soil but i presume it varies from patch to patch? Is it usual for there to be patchs of acid rich soil in a garden? Is it linked to a factor like shade or drainage. I presume that most gardens have a "normal" soil, and that acid-loving is unusual?

I suppose where I am going with this topic is that I dont understand why Nurseries will sell you a shrub that comes with the manufacturer's little white plastic tag with the name, and, ostensibly, instructions - and yet they consistently fail to tell you about soil type??? I just bought an Enkianthus and bust a gut to carve a beautiful extra large hole for it out of my pencil quarry (a.k.a. the Garden), and which I filled up with a peaty compost/ sand/ manure mix that looked good enough to eat. Now some light coincidental surfing on the internet tells me the Enkianthus shrub is acid loving and works well with other ericaceous plants!!

1. Generally speaking, if the nursery dont specify soil type, does it matter?
2. Do I have to haul out my shrub and repot it in a large and inconvenient pot of ericaceous soil?
3. Is there a way of treating a plant in situ so that it's immediate surrounds become acid loving?

Thanks very much for any advice you can offer.
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cooler
Rank attained: Sessile Oak Tree
Rank attained: Sessile Oak Tree


Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Posts: 292

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:49 am    Post subject: Re: Help - Enkianthus and Ericaceous soil Reply with quote

idioticlee wrote:


I suppose where I am going with this topic is that I dont understand why Nurseries will sell you a shrub that comes with the manufacturer's little white plastic tag with the name, and, ostensibly, instructions - and yet they consistently fail to tell you about soil type??? .


I suppose the same reason that car dealers will never tell that a car is too big or too fast for you. To keep the sales a rolling.

idioticlee wrote:

I just bought an Enkianthus and bust a gut to carve a beautiful extra large hole for it out of my pencil quarry (a.k.a. the Garden), and which I filled up with a peaty compost/ sand/ manure mix that looked good enough to eat. Now some light coincidental surfing on the internet tells me the Enkianthus shrub is acid loving and works well with other ericaceous plants!!


peaty compost is a good start as this will usually be acid.

idioticlee wrote:

1. Generally speaking, if the nursery dont specify soil type, does it matter?

It does, as very alkaline soil prevents acid loving plants from extracting nutrients, and very acid soil prevent alkaline loving plants from extracting other nutrients. Match the wrong plant with the wrong soil and you are in danger of loosing the plant.
idioticlee it will be well worth your while testing the ph of your soil with a home test kit. There is an informative video on it here http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=825

idioticlee wrote:

2. Do I have to haul out my shrub and repot it in a large and inconvenient pot of ericaceous soil?

3. Is there a way of treating a plant in situ so that it's immediate surrounds become acid loving?

You may just have to haul your plant out and dig lots of ericaceous or acid compost into the planting area before replacing it. Pine needles are reknowened for making soil more acid, so you could dig a few shovelfuls of those in as well. There are a few further tips that you could use here http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25
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idioticlee
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Kerry

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Cooler for all the advice. I bunked work for an hour, dug up the poor shrub,planted it in a reasonably large pot filled with ericacous soil and then popped the pot back into the original hole so it cant be seen. All of this is a stop gap because I am a weekend gardener, not being released from the "salt mines" until well after sunset. I am hoping my actions may have bought some time, but after that I will tackle the advice you gave, Thanks again
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