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Soil and lack of growth

We have a large garden the soil in which is sandy. There is, and has been since I came here in 1995, a lack of growth and flowering of shrubs, not just in the garden soil but with plants in pots also. Can anyone suggest any ideas why this is so please? I add compost to the garden soil (JI number 2) when planting but as an example I bought a Montana 2 months ago planted it in a mix of JI and soil and it has grown 18 inches but is very very spindly. The roots are protected from the sun. Any clues gratefully received. Thanks.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,554
    Sandy soils are notoriously low in nutrients and potting compost only has nutrients for about 90 days on average so I expect everything is just hungry and thirsty, especially the clematis.

    Try watering everything thoroughly and scattering handfuls of pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone or seaweed fertiliser around all your plants.  Top dress all your pots too.

    You can gradually improve the nutrient levels and water retention of you sandy soil by mulching geneorously every autumn and spring after first making sure there's been a good downpour or session with a sprinkler so you don't lock in dryness.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,462
    To improve sandy soil, give it a 3 inch layer of well rotted farmyard manure and fork it in well. Put some more on over winter and leave as a mulch. The fibre holds the nutrients in to stop them washing away in the winter rains.  I add Blood fish and bone about 100g per sq yard, every year just before planting.  The more humus you can add in the way of compost or manure, the better.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,143
    When we came here in 2011 the soil was very free draining sandy loam ... in the intervening period we’ve incorporated as much manure and home made compost as we can
    manage and the fertility levels are building up ... but where not yet to where I’d like to be ... I use generous quantities of Fish Blood & Bone and pelleted chicken manure, plus feeding with Tomato feed and watering with soluble seaweed. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thanks for comments, I shall proceed to find some manure !
  • SandygardenSandygarden Posts: 119
    I concur with everything everyone has said. My soil was like dust until I started mulching with garden compost and manure from garden centre. It totally transformed my garden. I do it late Feb and throw down growmore or pelleted chicken manure before the mulch. 
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