Soil mix for Yew

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Re: Soil mix for Yew

Post  Alain Bertrand on Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:47 pm

It makes perfect sense when you think about it: European yews are native to the calciferous soil of Western Europe – think of all those ancient yews growing in chalky English churchyards – and really can’t tolerate acidic soils very well.

That is simply not true.
For those interested in, you can get a map of yew repartition in France to be compared to the map of soil pH. As anyone can see, of all the yew hot spots , only one is on an alkaline soil, the rest on slightly or very acidic soils and the 2 most important of them are on very low pH soils.

Alain Bertrand
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Re: Soil mix for Yew

Post  Hans van Meer. on Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:23 pm

Alain Bertrand wrote:
It makes perfect sense when you think about it: European yews are native to the calciferous soil of Western Europe – think of all those ancient yews growing in chalky English churchyards – and really can’t tolerate acidic soils very well.

That is simply not true.
For those interested in, you can get a map of yew repartition in France to be compared to the map of soil pH. As anyone can see, of all the yew hot spots , only one is on an alkaline soil, the rest on slightly or very acidic soils and the 2 most important of them are on very low pH soils.

As stated: I was talking about yews collected in the UK. That are mostly collected from hills and mountains that for most parts consist of rocks. Just like the ones that grow by the thousands along the coast of North Spain and Portugal. I would never ad lime to a yew or any tree for that mater, that was collected in a aria with lower acidic soil!
But let me ask you this: if you collect a healthy Yew, that has been growing happily for many years in nothing but small rocks and chalky particles, why would you not consider to ad some simulare particles or lime to the various neutral Akadama mixtures that most of us use?

But to each his own! No problems! Very Happy
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

Hans van Meer.
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Re: Soil mix for Yew

Post  Alain Bertrand on Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:28 am

Hans van Meer. wrote:
As stated: I was talking about yews collected in the UK.

Yes, but the sentence you highlighted and to which I replied had much broader signification.

As for whether I would put limestone in a tree collected on chalk, I would probably not do for reasons linked to those of Jim's post. In fact there are very few plants that need high pH. Much of the time, plant said to like alkaline soils are just high pH or Ca2++ tolerant . In neutral or acidic soils, there is just too much competition for them and they are excluded. On alkalkine soils, their grow is slowed, but less than other plants so they become the dominant species, like buxus in some part of limestone highs in southern France.

Beside these ecological considerations, I have have two observations that make me very defiant of the idea that plants found on limestone actuallly need it. First as a student I took a seedling of a Juniperus communis growing on limestone and put it in the ground in my parents' place, with a neutral soil, but really heavy : they did very badly. Then, I took my plant with the cuttings I had made from it to my place (when I got it) with a very acid soil ( < 5,5) but good structure and texture. They thrive. Buxus is another example for me. It is not native to my region, but since a very long time, people used to plant them around their places for religious reasons and then when houses where abondonned, in quite a few cases they went on growing and growing excluding all other species under their very thick foliage and making patches of buxus in the surrounding forest. This happens on very acid soils.

I won't question the testimony you quoted that after adding lime, the yews got better but I will point out that the biggest effect of lime on a soil is not so much increasing pH but improving soil structure, increasing drainage and water capacity. Without pH measurement before and after, one can't attribute the improvment to pH alone.


Best regards,

Alain

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Re: Soil mix for Yew

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