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Discussion Starter #1
When we went to plant these fruit trees and started digging, we realized that there was less than 4 in of topsoil before hitting the Limestone that's called caliche here in Texas. So I decided to bring in 5-10 wheelbarrows of good clay loam and build up about 6 to 10 in of soil in which to plant trees. Has anybody else tried this method, and how has your success been? I realize that over time the tree's roots are going to want to spread further so we'll need to bring in more topsoil and move the rock walls out further. I also realize that the raised beds will require watering, basically forever, unless I extend them out basically forever....
 

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Yes. It is the recommended method of planting avocado trees in backyard gardens.

I have the same soil issue here outside of Austin.
 
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It has its place in the universe, I guess. You just have to be smarter than it is. :)
 
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It has its place in the universe, I guess. You just have to be smarter than it is. :)
Mine comes from working two years on a job that was 14 miles of it to get to the job. If it rained hard you were there for a while. Then it was a pain to clean off the wheels of the truck.

So do you grow avocados at your place? If so we are probably the same zone I might try it here.
 

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I haven’t got any going here. I have a friend in Wharton who has a couple in his yard.
 
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I haven’t got any going here. I have a friend in Wharton who has a couple in his yard.
Yeah, Wharton is a bit south of us. I may be a bit south of you. I do have a friend here who raises oranges but he has to do the tar pot constantly. He is retired though lol.
 

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I don't know anything about caliche. But I make similar raised beds in areas of poor drainage or compact ground.
It's worth a try. In time will tree roots not manage to crack into the caliche below?
If not what if you scarify it/pick ax it a bit prior to planting?
In my situation, adding manures/mulches and cut and come again mulch like comfrey brings up worms etc, which slowly permits better drainage and soil texture under the mound. I've killed trees don't get me wrong, but planted out 2 more hazels, 3 chestnuts and another walnut today in beds like yours, but no rocks.
 

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Caliche is “weathered” limestone. This area has small oak trees that are over 50 years old. If we get high winds, a few will blow down, and the root ball is amazingly small.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got a suggestion in another forum to prepare the hole a week early by pouring a fair amount of vinegar in there. It will attack the Caliche and make it softer. Vinegar is acidic and limestone is base. Should cancel each other out after a few days then leave weakened Caliche in which the tree can penetrate deeper tap roots. Next trees, will do.

Small root balls are apparent when wind uproots a tree, indeed. But digging at the dripline of a large oak, we noticed its roots there, 20' from the trunk. Perhaps the trees that don't blow over have wider root balls.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Where I live is just uphill from the Pedernales River. This link shows the geology. Layers of rock and caliche. There is very little “dirt” here.

https://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/waterfalls/eastern-us-pedernales-falls/
We have friends who live right on the Pedernales river and they had to truck in soil from miles away. We're luckier here.

German immigrants settled here first because of the good soil and water. There are huge areas of gravel and rock and Caliche. Then suddenly you get 20-200 acres of Bolar Clay Loam. Just 400 yards away, our neighbor has Purves Association soil. Terrible, just gravel and rocks as big as Volkswagens. Almost all of our property is good soil. It's a main reason I bought here.
 

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I grew my Katuk in a raised bed, mainly to keep it out of the acid FLorida sugar sand. The Chaya tree and the Muntingia like dry nutrient poor sand. I have an 8 year old Malabar chestnut/pachira in a 35 gallon pot. It blooms, last year it put out 2 fruits with nuts. The Pachira in the ground, at 3 years old, just grew to 10 feet this month. The Older pachira is only 6 feet tall.
I'm thinking raised beds are more the way to go with trees as they send their roots out the drainage holes and eventually stunt themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I grew my Katuk in a raised bed, mainly to keep it out of the acid FLorida sugar sand. The Chaya tree and the Muntingia like dry nutrient poor sand. I have an 8 year old Malabar chestnut/pachira in a 35 gallon pot. It blooms, last year it put out 2 fruits with nuts. The Pachira in the ground, at 3 years old, just grew to 10 feet this month. The Older pachira is only 6 feet tall.
I'm thinking raised beds are more the way to go with trees as they send their roots out the drainage holes and eventually stunt themselves.
What are the names of those trees in English?
 

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In time will tree roots not manage to crack into the caliche below?
Soil & Conservation agent told me to plant tillage radishes which will send their threadlike roots into cracks and break them open as the root grows. When it dies, nearby plants will have a crack to grow into plus the decomposing radish to fertilize.

I plan on planting them around everything I put in the ground from now on.
 

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I just ordered some. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The Caliche is fearsome stuff for roots. Whenever I see a tree blown over, the roots are rather wide and very shallow. Penetrating seems to be difficult. That said, perhaps there are trees that did penetrate down a bit more, and I never see their roots because they don't blow over. We pulled a medium sized cedar out from behind our house and its roots were down almost 18", making the job tough.
 

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Through Amazon, a company called Nature’s Seed.
 
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