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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:46 pm 
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Location: HALIFAX, NS
Steve - In the nursery we told people with stiff soil to apply gypsum and topdress with organic materials. Also to plant potatoes and fall rye, buckwheat or alfalfa in the stiff soil and leave them there to rot over the winter.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:59 pm 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
johnw wrote:
Steve - In the nursery we told people with stiff soil to apply gypsum and topdress with organic materials. Also to plant potatoes and fall rye, buckwheat or alfalfa in the stiff soil and leave them there to rot over the winter.


Thanks John. I'll have to do some background research on gypsum. I've noticed that under my moso bicolor the soil is still fairly soft down even in the 2-3ft mark so I'm guessing that whatever I have been adding must have been changing the soil composition down below even though it was never applied that deep. It may have given this particular bamboo a slight edge over the rest as this year's gain in size is simply amazing as the leaf mass will probably increase by about a 15 fold.

I've read that you need 5lbs of it per 100 square feet, and here's the price I found on eBay so it's not that expensive. I might have to quote around to see if I could possibly get a better deal.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/40lb-Soluble-Gy ... 519f3777b8

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:12 pm 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
John, what's the market price for gypsum?

I got quoted 19.99/36lb bag by the cheapest source locally, and found it quite a bit cheaper down in PA 250 miles south of here so the shipping can't be too bad. http://www.usagypsum.com/category/1.aspx

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:19 pm 
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Steve - Powdered gypsum or the granular type that is actually the powder formed into granules for easy application will be much cheaper than that.

Of course we are a major gypsum exporter so that could explain the reasonable pricing. i'd guess an 8-15kg bag would be plenty for you. It is pH neutral by the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:09 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
I'll try to get a few bags of it to use on a couple of my more powerful groves to see if there's an effect. I might even try some on some of the vegetables to see if there's a noticeable difference due to the effects of gypsum.

Regarding my steel broadfork, I tried it on some 5 inch thick maple roots near the base of a pretty big red maple tree which were headed towards one of my gardens, and it snapped those roots like twigs, so I can understand why it has a lifetime warranty now. I could almost guarantee that any of the typical shovels you buy at the hardware store would snap in 1 shot if it was used for this purpose.

I thought this was just good for aeration, but this tool is the real deal. It could probably get out bamboo divisions pretty easily too, and perhaps preserve more of the culm roots while having a lopper around would help too in order to get a clean cut. I really doubt the bamboo slammer has anything on this tool since I can simply slam it into the ground, pull, and get something dug up while keeping most roots intact.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Location: Island off Cape Cod Massacusetts
It may be a little trashy looking, and some types may have additives to the paper, but new drywall scraps can be had for free. Conventional sheet rock is almost pure gypsum.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Location: HALIFAX, NS
I'd stick with the horticulatural grade. God knows what other additives are those building products contain - bonding agents, waterproofing gunk etc.

If it's 19.99 for 36lbs of hort variety that sounds good. About $9.99 here for 8kg of hort granular as I recall.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:19 pm 
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Location: Midwest, USDA Z5 / AHS Heat Z5
JWH wrote:
Have you thought about planting in raised beds? It would seem like you could have the most perfectly aerated soil thats 5ft deep, but if its not raised higher than the surrounding poorly draining clay on the sides and bottom wouldn't it still fill up with water like a big mudpuddle after heavy rain?


stevelau1911 wrote:
Down near the 3ft depth, it's already under the water table making it kind of difficult to work.


To increase the depth of soil that you have above the water table, I second the idea of creating raised beds. 8)
Not only does the raised bed improve drainage and aeration, you can also include layer after layer of organic material as you build it.

stevelau1911 wrote:
I would guess that my soil is naturally pretty aerated there is no noticeable clay in my soil, it's mostly sand and rocks, excellent drainage & easy to dig in except when you hit a huge boulder :x .


Mix in some wood chips or chunks while building a deep bed. Porous punky wood or spongy rotted wood increases aeration and improves moisture retention over the years before it breaks down.


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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Location: zone 3a-4b
John is right about potatoes. You can do the same with any large root crop, like daikon radish or french breakfast radish. Comfrey does the same thing. Dandelions are probably the best plant for breaking through the hardpan, too bad most people just get rid of them. You may want to get a few dozen taro corms and use them as a ground cover, then just let them die in the winter. Here small seed potato sized taro corms are cheap - I payed 10 cents for 4. They have giant ones for about 2 bucks. I mean half a [pumpkin size, but have never been able to sprout those.

A raised bed would be a good idea. Have you ever heard of a helkugar (sp)? You basically bury some logs under wet plant matter (say, veggies) and some dried leaves, then bury it in soil and finished compost. The logs hold and soak up excess water and make nice peaty soil in a few years. Trees will also help soak up some excess water, good thing you have a small army of fruit seedlings.

Again, I highly recommend ground cover plants/organic mulch as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:18 pm 
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I'd almost guarantee the root penetration in a raised bed would be much better than in the ground. Root hardiness would be the main concern. The aeration would be 100 times better in a raised bed. Here the results are super for veggies and most else as our ground stays so very cool.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:41 am 
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Location: Midwest, USDA Z5 / AHS Heat Z5
canadianplant wrote:
A raised bed would be a good idea. Have you ever heard of a helkugar (sp)? You basically bury some logs [...]


Hugelkultur is useful for creating a raised bed intended to last many years.

If you have fresh logs, you can even inoculate them with mushrooms to speed the process of establishing a bed that retains moisture while providing aeration. In doing so, avoid woods resistant to decay like cedar that might take decades to break down.

johnw wrote:
Root hardiness would be the main concern. [...] Here the results are super for veggies and most else [...]


A raised bed could have the effect of winter pruning shallow bamboo rhizomes near the edge but that still doesn't stop deeper rhizomes here (USDA hardiness zone 5).

The increased vigor and growth of bamboo resulting from a prepared raised bed also appears to enhance winter tolerance.
:D


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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Location: zone 3a-4b
jd. wrote:
canadianplant wrote:

Hugelkultur is useful for creating a raised bed intended to last many years.

If you have fresh logs, you can even inoculate them with mushrooms to speed the process of establishing a bed that retains moisture while providing aeration. In doing so, avoid woods resistant to decay like cedar that might take decades to break down.

johnw wrote:
Root hardiness would be the main concern. [...] Here the results are super for veggies and most else [...]


A raised bed could have the effect of winter pruning shallow bamboo rhizomes near the edge but that still doesn't stop deeper rhizomes here (USDA hardiness zone 5).

The increased vigor and growth of bamboo resulting from a prepared raised bed also appears to enhance winter tolerance.
:D


thanks for correcting the spelling lol.

I also agree raised beds can also help increase winter tolerance, especially using large rocks, and a nice mulch... They may also give you a head start in spring....

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:52 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
I actually found a local source of gypsum only 55 miles away, and they quoted me $149 for a 1 ton pallet of gypsum which consists of 40 (50lb bags), or $140 for one huge bag however I won't be able to transport it that way. That would equate to 7.45 center per lb, and $3.73 per 50lb bag which sounds like a pretty good deal.

I also found out that there are distributors of gypsum and other wholesale materials all throughout the US. It's definitely worth it to go on a little drive in order to avoid a huge markup by the retailers. I'll likely pickup a lot of gypsum in the next couple weeks.

In the mean time, I might hope we can consistently have warmer dryer conditions as this year seems to be the opposite of last year so far. I can't aerate the soil when the water table is above soil lvl.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:48 am 
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Just wondering, I intend to try gypsum on only some of my groves, or a certain side of a grove to see if there is any increase in root depth. How much of this stuff would be needed to really loosen the soil down to 4-5ft?

I'm guessing if I get 2000lbs of it, I could apply as much as 20lbs of this stuff per square foot of all my groves, but that sounds like overkill, and may even be counter-productive so would 5lbs per square foot sound about right?


Too much of one material may mean that it dilutes the availability of all the other nutrients and have a negative effect, or it may ruin the test as the gypsum from one application seeps all throughout the entire grove causing roots on the sections that were not applied with it to get the effect if I'm simply trying to see how well this stuff works.

One thing I know is certain is that all the organic stuff I am laying down on the moso bicolor does seem to be changing the composition of the soil below it however roots still seem to stop at around the 1ft mark even though it seems like they should be able to sink deeper into the earth.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeration
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Well, the vast majority of roots stay within the top 2 or 3 feet of the soil profile on average, even trees for the most part.

THe best way to aerate is to do it before planting, so would be adding gypsum id assume, but if you loosed the soil around the groves a bit adding some soil, and top dressing the soil in and around the grove with organic matter will help eventually. Top dressing works very well, it just takes a few years before the soil profile can get some good tilth back. You should also try to minimize compaction from the rain and stepping on it, and reduce the sun cooking the bare soil with mulch, cover crops and/or shade

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