Designing an Xeriscape Boulevard Part 2

In an earlier post I designed a Boulevard and have now completed the job.  Earlier this week I posted Part 1 with a list of requirements for the job.

Creating this Boulevard had its challenges, one of which were the large rocks and boulders encased in clay.  I used the steel bar to leverage out the rocks and then re-added them to the boulevard after planting.  The rocks add minerals to the soil and are an important part of the health of the trees.  The boulevard was designed from the concepts of Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden” videos on youtube. I chose this method because the boulevard is too far from the house to be watered. Nature must ensure their survival.

Why Wood Chips Work – Back to Eden Garden – L2Survive with Thatnub  

I chose to use wood chips because there is no access to water for these trees.  They are too far from the house for a hose to reach and there is other access to water other then nature.

Why wood chips….they will slowly break down and add nutrients to the trees, they will keep the sun out and the moisture in the ground.  When it rains they will hold water and in extreme temperature fluctuations they will maintain a good soil temperature.

I measured the space to make sure the trees were spaced equally apart.  I marked each hole to be dug with a rock.

Boulevard Measuring

Next was to dig the holes.  Digging them 3 x as wide and 3 x as deep as the size of the pot (ususally it is sufficient to dig it 2 x as deep as the pot) because the clay was so hard I opted to dig it deeper and I broke up the bottom of the hole to ensure the roots would have an easier time growing through the soil.  I also broke up the sides of the hole to ensure it was uneven so it will not become solid and smooth like the inside of a clay pot does.  This can and does happen in  clay soil.

Planting sprucePlanting spruce 1Planting spruce 2boulevard 10

Once the holes were dug I added layers of wet newspaper between the trees and made sure that it covered the insides of the holes 8 inches down.  This will stop grass and weeds from growing through the top layers.  I placed about 2 inches of sand and 2 inches of fine gravel to the bottom of the holes for good drainage.   Then I added the organic soil mix I had made.  I used 2/3 soil (made from the native soil dug from the holes and the organic soil I purchased of equal parts) and 1/3 peat moss (to retain moisture).  Then I added 2 bags of mushroom compost and 2 bags of steer manure. I placed approximately 4 inches of organic soil  and a handful of bone meal in each hole before I set the tree in.  Then I add water to the root ball in the hole.  You cannot over water at this point.  The trees are going to go through transplant shock and will recover faster and healthier with the proper nutrients and water…just like people!

**Note: Please be sure to soak the trees…pot and all in a bucket of water before planting.  I usally leave them overnight. 

Once the tree is in the hole,  then I continue to add organic soil around the root ball, tamping down as I go.  Once the soil is flush with ground, I tamp down once more and then I water thoroughly to make sure there are no air pockets and to help the soil settle around the root.

Next I added 2 to 3 inches of mulch and finally I added 3 to 4 inches of living or green wood chips.  Which are fresh chipped from felled trees or branches.  I chose cedar wood chips because it will add acidic nutrients to the trees and will slowly compost down and feed the tree.  Coniferous trees thrive in an acidic soil which most of Vancouver Island is.  However, using bone meal to help the tree through the initial transplant shock and encouraging a healthy root system form is a must…however…bone meal creates an alkaline environment.  So I off set one with the other.

Dwarf Alberta Spruceboulevard

It is important when using different soils, mulches and wood chips to layer them.  Never, ever mix them.  If mulch and wood chips are  mixed with soil they rob the soil of nitrogen and other nutrients in order for them to continue to break down.  If they are layered one on top of the other then they break down as a much slower pace and will not cause a soil imbalance.

boulevardShades in the top layer represent the mulch & wood chips

Boulevard completed 2The finished boulevardBoulevard completed 4

Cheers!  See you in the garden or the Garden Centre




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