Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Saving Plants from Drowning

As I mentioned in previous post we have had a very wet last 6- 8 months and during this time it became obvious that some of our fruit trees were not going to make it long term without some action.

Last year I planted out:
An Avocado
Blood Orange
Kaffir Lime
Eureka Lemon
Wax Jambu (Syzygium jambolana)

Wurtz Avocado
In the background: Wax Jambu (left) and Red Mulberry (right)
 At the time we enriched the soil with plenty of compost, adjusted the pH where required, added gypsum to help with drainage, fed with seaweed solution and mulched after planting.  In my mind we had done everything right.  Wrong.

Having lived in the house for only 8 months at the time of planting and moving in at the end of an extended period of drought we were unaware of exactly how water logged our soil could become.  We have good top soil but clay underneath about 20 cm down.
So drastic action had to be taken or it was plants down the gurgler.

I made the decision that we had to dig up some of the plants and replant them in large mounds to create much better drainage.

The Wax Jambu (Syzygium jambolana) is a Lillypilly that has hot pink pear shaped fruit that look like they are made of wax and and it is doing ok so we have left it alone along with the Mulberries that also seem to be doing fine despite the wet feet.  They have gotten some new mulch and a foliar feed of seaweed solution and will be getting a feed of blood and bone and they also need some more mulch.
Mulberries Red at the front and White in the background
So on to the citrus.  When we planted the citrus we did create small mounds for each of them to aid with drainage but for some reason only the lemon remained on a mound a year later and the Blood Orange and Kaffir Lime were now at ground level.
So we left the lemon alone and just added some compost mixed with river sand and added mulch then watered in with a seaweed solution.
The Blood Orange and the Kaffir Lime were dug up and replanted into large mounds of compost, river sand and good soil then mulched.  I have ordered a lime from Diggers to add to our citrus collection and when it arrives it will get the same treatment.
Citrus (front to back Blood Orange, Kaffir Lime and Lemon)
The Avocado, Pomegranate and the lone Blueberry (the other drowned) were given the same treatment and hopefully they will all enjoy some renewed vigor in their raised mounds.
The lone Blueberry bush

Over time I will be working on making to mounds wider but at the same height to give the roots plenty of well drained soil to grow into, but for now it's a start.


  1. Good luck with the trees! It looks like you are doing the right thing.

    I have a black mulberry waiting to go into the ground, but because they get so big, I just don't know where to put him!

  2. I wish we could grow citrus here but not quite warm enough. I have grown some in pots but just don't have the time to keep pot grown things watered. Too dry here.

  3. Wow, you have given them a nice bed haven't you, I hope they thrive for you! I'm about to give up on mine, I will be doing a post soon again...after all the replanting and soil prep we did (the bloomin cute little sheep have eaten them!!!) Can't have it all I guess, Hubby out there fencing them off right now! We'll try AGAIN!


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