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Mound planting fruit trees

Have any of you tried this?  I believe Monty did so, a few years ago, in an area which flooded.  Our back garden currently looks like this, in places:

- though admittedly that's at the bottom of the slope, where a mini digger has been trundling about.

Nearer the top of the slope (which is slight) I want to plant some apple trees.  I'm selecting Irish varieties so they should be used to the general weather conditions, but the soil is pretty heavy.  I've just watched a Youtube video of orchard planting in America where they dug over a 4ft square of meadow, then used a 4ft square raised bed, about 8" high, filled with decent soil, to plant their tree into.

Any thoughts, anyone?  All suggestions - including negative ones - gratefully received...
Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,487
    Olive trees are routinely planted on raised mounds south of here, in areas with heavy clay soil/subject to flooding both on sloping and flat ground and that seems to work. The fields could  be totally flooded but the trees on their mounds, like little islands, cope fine.

    I planted two identical sized pomegranate trees in my garden, one in improved soil directly in the ground and one in a (coincidentally 4x4ft) raised bed. The one in the raised bed has thrived and grown really well, the other in the ground is a sorry specimen. My soil is shallow and poorly drained, so I couldn’t say for sure that the thriving one is benefiting from the greater soil depth or better drainage, or both. I am about to order a crab apple tree, it will be going in a raised bed! 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,586
    Mound planting is used here quite a lot, we have heavy clay soil and I wish I had done this when I planted two Amelachier Canadensis. They are still alive but alternate very heavy rainfall and baking temperatures in the summer haven't done them any favours. 
  • Thank you both.  That's very interesting... it looks as if it might be worth a try.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • An update, for anyone who might be interested:  I planted 2 eating apples and a crab apple (all local Irish varieties) in the meadow behind the house, as described above (heavy soil, SE facing, slight slope) in December 2019.  I didn't make raised beds but cut a 4ft circle for each tree and mounded the soil so it was perhaps 4-6" higher in the middle of the circle, then planted the trees.  (Incidentally, on the advice of the growers at Irish Seed Savers, from whom I bought them, I didn't stake the trees - all whips.)  I mulched them with compost and they have grown well.

    It turned out that the horrible claggy soil at the bottom of the slope was only waterlogged - as in the photo - because the digger had driven over it repeatedly.  It's now draining fine, as is the rest of the meadow.  So probably the mound planting was unnecessary...
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,840
    edited November 2022
    I think mound planting is good in heavy or water-logged soils @Liriodendron.

    I have 3 apple trees to plant soon in the veg plot but will not be mounding them.  The soil there is good loam but we have had drought every year since we moved here in 2016 and this last year has had 3 heatwaves as well. 

    Every other tree I have planted has needed 3 years of watering thru dry spells before they get their roots down deep enough to cope and the Cercidiphyllum and prunus serrula will probably need coddling for another year.  On the other hand, the apricot has romped away with little fuss and my liriodendron seems happy too.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Arthur1Arthur1 Posts: 538
    It is not uncommon to walk around country estates/NT properties and see trees which have been planted on mounds. Never tried it myself but everything I plant now is raised  if possible. Usually raised beds.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,487
    Glad your drainage problem has sorted itself out Liriodendron, that’s a fairly shallow mound so shouldn’t do them any harm, at least. Olive tree mounds can be a good 2ft high! 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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