Don’s Expert Answers: Drainage

Question From:
Peter Prodromos in Attwood , Melbourne Victoria

Nature of problem:

Type of Plant (if known):

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:

How often do you water the plant:
Just planted

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
5 -8

How long since you planted it:

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
Yes…with organic composte

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:

What other treatments have you given the plant:
None yet

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Hi Don,

I just planted a bare rooted apricot tree today, as i was digging the hole i noticed it was quite hard, like dry clay. I used an organic compose to dack fix mixed im with the dirt that had come out of the hole. The hole was approx 16 lts……once i watered….approx 16lts the water did not reside…..basically it was holding the water…..not draining……it took approx 5-6 hrs for the water. Its like its pond..

Please help, what can i do….

Peter Prodromos

Hi Peter, I am very impressed by your powers of observation. This is a very common problem that remains unnoticed by almost everyone. You have dug a sump in compacted, clay soil: sort of a mini swimming pool! Eventually, the plant’s roots will die, and then, goodbye plant.

Dig the plant up immediately and use a mattock to dig out a 2m wide, shallow, saucer-shaped depression about half the depth of the plant’s root ball in the middle. Fill in the previous hole, which is now in the middle of the saucer. Mix the dug up soil roughly 50/50 with potting mix. Place the plant in the middle of the depression. Use the mix to create an inverted saucer-shaped mound around the plant’s roots, so that while its root ball is now half above the original surrounding soil level, the roots are still well covered with the new mix. Again, well done Peter.