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Planting shelter belt in water logged clay


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Breezy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:12 pm    Post subject: Planting shelter belt in water logged clay Reply with quote

Hi Folks.
Have a query re planting a shelter belt in clay water logged soil with lots wind exposure obviously. I am designing a belt to protect a potential green house or polytunnel so need it to grow this year and hopefully install greenhouse/tunnel in spring 2016. Advised to build raised area to take the plants (Laurel and Salix) I am using out of the clay water logged soil. Intend to use them as sacrificial plants as will plant a row of conifers in their shade which will be my eventual wind barrier.
Have I got the following procedure right for raised planting bed? Dig the ground to spade depth, turn over add lots of farmyard manure, then on top of thi and just above ground level add good quality soil which I will bring in with lots organic matter and some grit to a height of 12 inches. Plant the laurel and Salix into the raised area and apply weed barrier around the new plants. I intend to leave the raised planting bed wide enough to add in the conifers this fall when they will benefit the shade provided by the windbreak. Please feel free to comment or suggest alternative, or less labour intensive ideas as soil is murder at the moment at least. Thanks in advance.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Breezy by name and breezy by nature huh?
I read the title and immediately started thinking conifers and willows. Only to find you were there already.
Is the ground in need of being dried out, if not you could widen your choices away from high demand trees/shrubs that may be faster growing? Other high demand trees are Eucalyptus, some cherries and pears I think. Willows can be a nightmare with their seeds, I had this problem last year (see a previous thread). One other point to make, you really need to check the mature height of your proposed trees relative to the position of your or anybody else's house especially when you are on a clay soil. It's a balance of water demand versus speed of growth.

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Breezy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if it needs drying out, clay soil is water logged but when I dig down about 18 inches I hit a shale like layer (called 'pencil' locally) and its dry as good drainage. Yet water is a bit of a problem here.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well a few high demand trees should soak that up and dry out the clogged up soil for you to some extent. Interesting how it is not getting away through the shale though. Is there a hard pan present?
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tagwex - I think your thinking of the goat willow. It's seeds are a damn pest. There are other willows which are far less troublesome and very easy to grow. I have a windbreak made from willow withies. They are 'cuttings' taken from my willow arch that I just pushed into the ground at 45 degree angle. Salix alba and S. viminalis are great for this as they grow very fast, 6' - 7'. By the end of the summer it's about 8' - 10' tall and 4' wide. I cut it back to about 4'.

Alder grows very well in wet ground. It is tough as old boots but, personally, I think it's a bit gloomy for a garden.

A word of caution. Our neighbour planted a laurel hedge as a windbreak. The ground was uneven so he built it up in places and planted on the top of the mounds. I did suggest that the laurel would even out as it grew and fill in the dips, but he said it looked like a rollercoaster. The hedge is doing OK, but where the plants were on made-up ground the wind has rocked them and the soil tends to dry out. So they are not growing as strongly as the ones planted at 'ground level'. I hope that makes sense!

Good luck with the project and let us know how you go on.
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Breezy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thnk you all. Well the wet is a mystery as paid to have drains installed and brought in the topsoil, my neighbour suspects the problem is it was all done with a track machine and became very compacted.
Interested in the Laurel and Salix experiences. Everybody praises Alder but yes it is not a feature tree, wish I knew of something more exciting. Have thought of the weeping willow but garden centre says it will need good protection for the first few years as burns in the wind.
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reference Tagwex's post of Wednesday on positioning trees. Weeping willow quickly grows to be an ENORMOUS tree in favourable conditions. Remember the old saying: 'If you wish for elephants, make sure you have a large garden!' Trees extracting water from clay soils can cause buildings to subside.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My bad experience was with a black willow, actually there were hundreds of them, nearly sure it was a black willow anyway. I may look back over that thread again tomorrow. I could be tarring all Salix wrongly with the same brush.
The excavator idea makes sense as it would produce a similar effect to my hard pan theory.

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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tippben
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember that if you plant a more or less solid barrier, the wind will hit it, and then go up and over. You need a baffle effect, which means several layers. On the outside, well spaced trees (Alder/Hawthorn/Damson etc). Then another belt (inland, if you see what I mean) of lower stuff, so Salix alba cultivars, coppiced on a 2 to 3 year rotation would work well for that. Finally a few shrubs 3-5 feet high, which your laurel would do.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Breezy wrote:
Thnk you all. Well the wet is a mystery as paid to have drains installed and brought in the topsoil, my neighbour suspects the problem is it was all done with a track machine and became very compacted.
Interested in the Laurel and Salix experiences. Everybody praises Alder but yes it is not a feature tree, wish I knew of something more exciting. Have thought of the weeping willow but garden centre says it will need good protection for the first few years as burns in the wind.

A friend, (a farmer's wife) wanted to turn a small field, at the front of the house, into a garden. It was very wet. I said you wont do much with that unless you drain it. Instead of using a small digger and buying in good topsoil her husband (who thinks gardening is 'just fannying about') used his tractor and all it's attatchments (like Inspector Gadget) and several tons of 'top soil' from the farm. Result? His tractor squashed all the drains and the 'top soil' is mud full of docks and rushes. Nice!

As for the willow, Weeping Willow is quite a tender, If thugish, plant. But the 2 I mentioned have tougher leaves and can stand the wind better. Also, like Beech, they have different characteristics if grown as a hedge compared to a tree.

Laurel will make a good windbreak - in time. Willow, if grown as a hedge, makes a good wind-filter in a relatively short time.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.google.ie/url?q=http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about7209.html&sa=U&ei=3YrUVN3WJabT7QbrlYGIBQ&ved=0CBMQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNHj12HFvFgJeRkbHNMOGp2_G1NCqQ

This the link back to an old thread where Greengage identified the offender as Black Willow. AVOID!

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see what you mean Tagwex! I have that sort of problem with sycamores (I HATE those rxxxy trees).

My aunt had a line-prop made from a fresh-cut willow. It wasn't used over winter and was left touching soil. When she did come to use it, she found it had sprouted. Not having the heart to shift it, she left it to become a very strange shaped tree! Laughing
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Breezy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK leaning to the 2 identified willows for starters, question now is are they controllable, will I rue the day I planted them and will my plans for a leisurely retirement be curtailed by having to be out there managing them several times a year?
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cut mine once a year with secateurs and loppers. I cut out/down the thickest and thinnest, then weave the others back int the hedge. It takes 4-5 hrs to do about 35 feet.. It is quite a satisfying job. My willow hedge is just one plant wide. For a wind break you may want a staggered double line.
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Breezy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats helpful Sue, do I stick them i the ground at an angle or just straight down? did you mix the two, Salix alba and S. viminalis or do they have different characteristics, as they are decidious are they ok looking in Winter and from looking at the web pics, the Viminalis looks more attractive and bamboo like to the eye, is that true?
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