Follow the recipe for healthy flower beds
Fall is for planting, so here is a recipe for amending the soil for flower beds. You could use the same recipe for trees and shrubs with some slight modification. Test soil first, if possible. Wait 30 days to plant, if possible. Amend whole area not just the hole. With trees and shrubs do not till deeper than the root ball of the plants you are planting. This recipe is based on per 100 square feet of planting area:
Mule Mix – 200 pounds per 100 sqare feet. Mule Mix is super-heated calcified clay. Mule Mix helps improve drainage and reduces compaction. Mule Mix will last in the soil for over 20 years. The particle can hold its weight in water and then releases it slowly as the plant needs it. We have used this product to correct many water issues (too wet and too dry) over the years.
Bolster 04-04-04 Sustane – 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet. This product that increases fertilizer efficiency and improves soil biology. It contains mycorrhiza spores increasing the ability for the roots absorb nutrients and water. Also contains biostimulants and iron.
SeaHume – 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet. Humic acid and seaweed. Super product for establishing plants. Stimulates growth of beneficial microorganisms and root growth. More than 60 minor nutrients, amino acids, gibberellins and much, much more.
Cotton Burr Compost – Four 3-cubic feet bags per 100 square feet (sandy soil, increase to (6) bags). Cotton Burr Compost is nature's perfect soil conditioner. The cotton boll (burr) is full of nutrients and will not tie up nitrogen like wood and wood-based soil amendments. It will loosen up clay soils and add water holding capacities to sandy soils. Cotton Burr is an excellent food source for beneficial soil organisms that help make nutrients available to plants, aerate the soil and helps keep harmful organisms and diseases in check.
Flower Bed Amendment – Five 1-cubic feet bags per 100 sqare feet (in sand, increase to (8) bags). This product not only contains Cotton Burrs, but also composted cattle manure, feather meal, cotton seed meal and alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal is high in nitrogen and contains Triacantanol, a natural root growth enhancer, and may help in the suppression and control of certain fungal diseases.
Mix these products together and till into 6-8 inches of soil. With clay soil, you should have 1/3 amendments and 2/3 clay. With sandy soil, it should be ½ amendments and ½ sand. For trees and shrubs adjust depth according to root ball size.
After tilling the bed, top dress with four bags of Natures Blend and then two bags of Cotton Burr Compost. For annuals cap it off with one pound of 17-00-09. Plant annuals through this top dressed area with this mixture, every time you water your plants are getting a 'compost tea' full of nutrients.
Test your soil after 30 days and add any other amendments that your soil test indicates you need.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.
(Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum's Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum's has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mount Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum's location, or visit us at possumsupply.com. Call in your questions to ' The Garden Clinic', Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.)