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A recommendation for easy planting of seedlings in heavy clay


Active Member
I am planting 1450 trees and shrubs next week in a crp project. The nrcs office gave me instructions that I had to rototill the rows for planting to make a better planting bed. I rented one and tilled last November. In my opinion one can't get it deep enough to what it should be for best results. So I checked out craigslist and found a one bottom plow. In December, I went back and plowed one way in the middle of the tilled area and then back the same way I came, over the plowed area.

I then plowed some areas the same way as above where I was going to plant some screens of cedar and miscanthus.

I transplanted cedars this past weekend and it was the easiest planting I have done on this farm. I wish I would have done this for the thousands I have planted in the past 10 years. The heavy clay, when I normally dug holes to plant was tough to dig and would stick together in chunks. It was just basically tough to break down to get air pockets out without smashing soil on the roots and compacted the soil in the process. The complete opposite was the experience this time. The freezing and thawing process made the soil crumble and I could put the spade into the ground with just my hands.

Next week my trees and shrubs come and I am using a 3pt tree planter for them and have high expectations for how it's going to go.
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Staff member
Planted thousands in heavy clay. KEY!!!..... kill the vegetation off the fall before. Goes in like butter!!! Don’t plant in mud- wait for it to dry and then GO!
well done! Post some pics!!!


Active Member
Thank you Skip. I will try to remember to take some pics.

The plowed area for the crp tree planting is going into a corn field but the cedar and miscanthus screens are going into a clover plot edge. The plow broke the soil well but left the clover alive in the plow line. I'm going to 24d the miscanthus line the next good day to spray. I'll leave it in the cedar line.
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