Root competition between large gum trees and small plants is a dilemma many gardeners face when trying to revamp or replant garden areas. The small plants usually come out second best.

Eucalyptus trees adapt readily to dry conditions and form fine feeder roots at the soil surface, with any sigh of moisture or fertiliser these fine roots are straight into it. This is one of the ways they cope with extended dry periods.

When these fine feeder roots get into the fresh new soil, where young plants have been placed, they draw the moisture and fertiliser from the soil. This soil soon becomes water repellent and young plants are either stunted or die.

When establishing a garden under or around established trees it is so important to improve the soil before anything is planted. Holes need to be extra-large (it will feel like overkill) to ensure plants establish themselves before the fine roots of the Eucalypts draw all the moisture and nutrients away from the new plantings.

To give your soil a healthy boost, apply Seasol Liquid Compost, it’s your no dig option. It helps to revitalise all soils, as it contains liquid compost to improve the soil structure and soil moisture retention. Boosted with seaweed, fish and nutrients it simulates root growth to protect and improve soils. Simply mix 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water (standard watering can) or use the hose-on pack.

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