I like to plant trees and shrubs on constructed
soil mounds as opposed to planting them in
flat ground. If you’re working with slightly
heavy clay/loam soils, the mounding is
especially critical to preventing root or crown
rot (Phytophthora spp.—a fungal disease of the
upper portion of the roots, near the soil surface).
Many ornamental and fruiting tree and shrubs die
of crown rot without the gardener ever suspecting
the culprit. The fungus damages the sapwood,
either killing individual limbs or the entire plant.
Once the symptoms (pale-yellow, wilted leaves)
appear, it’s too late to do anything about it.
So, mounds help stave off root rot.
In areas where the summers are dry, make your
planting mounds in the fall; then all you have
to do in early spring after bare root roses, fruiting
and ornamental trees, and berries arrive is open
the winter wet soil enough to place the roots and
cover it with native soil. In areas where it rains in
the summer, wait until the soil drains after a rain
so that it’s moist, not wet.
Here you can see the cross section of a mound made
of composting chips and leaves from a tree service.
The mound is capped with six to ten inches of soil and immediately
planted. All plants are still planted on small mounds on the composting mound.
Based on my book Roots Demystified.
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