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planting bay trees

We are in the process of planting 4 bay trees (about 2.5 m high) but when the landscape gardener dug the holes he discovered that below 100mm of topsoil was a layer of grit sand about 160mm deep on top of the clay base.This is on a new build Redrow plot and they say this in accordance with regulations.The gardener says he cannot plant the trees as nothing will grow.We also want to plant hydrangeas but he cannot plant these in this ground,and the layer of sand needs to be removed and replaced with topsoil.Any comments would be welcome.

B Kelly


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,701

    I think the clay might be more of a problem than the sand, if it was compacted by the builders and then the sand and soil layers just laid on top.  How's the drainage?  Do you get puddles or muddy areas forming when it rains heavily?

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,874
    Maybe you could do raised beds around the trees? I rescued a bay tree from a building site a few years ago and stuck it into the ground on my new build plot, which had worse soil than yours and it sulked for a couple of years but it's now thriving. The sulking was probably due to the brutal transplant job more than the heavy clay soil. It doesn't sit in water as the ground slopes but it's not the precribed perfect soil for it.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
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