Amending the Bonsai Garden, Step 1: Remove Trees and Heel In

My bonsai grow-out garden is composed of a 10′ x 10′ raised bed, which I have initially added compost to at about a depth of 6″.  Most trees seem to be thriving in it but some plants have grown poorly such as my Korean Hornbeam and Chinese Quince (although they have been picking up).  The Chinese Quince were showing signs of chlorosis, which went away when I sprinkled some Ironite around their bases.  The Korean Hornbeam has just seemed to be in a state of confusion with it not even fully leafing out this year although it is fully alive.

For this reason and the fact that I want to make the raised bed deeper I decided today was a good day to pull out all trees from the garden, check their roots, root prune etc., and amend the garden soil.  The soil is fairly fertile and loose but there is still a good percentage of the soil that is my local soil.  The soil we have here, atleast in Central Texas, is made up of clay and limestone.  The limestone is very plentiful and I have some strong handled picks that come out whenever I have to dig more than 1″ deep, pretty sad and annoying!

I dug a heeling in trench and used pea gravel to temporarily cover the trees until tomorrow or a few more days until I have the garden amended:

You may be wondering why am I doing this when there are still some leaves on the trees?  Well, winters here seem quite variable.  They can be mild or nasty but usually very quick.  Most of the leaves on the trees have dropped and I can tell they are mainly in their dormant winter state.  I mainly want to do this before the roots really start to get growing as they do very early spring to look for resources to feed the next flush of leaves.

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