Site Characteristics-Sands are hot and dry in summer, moist but not waterlogged in winter. Sands are often water repellent with low fertility. Sands can range from white, grey through to yellow and brown in colour. Weed growth is usually poor to medium and they are easy to work.
Ground Preparation The planting holes should be dug to at least 50cm depth to combat any subsurface compaction. The planting holes should be backfilled with 'Sand Remedy' (bentonite clay, zeolite and gypsum mixture available through The Swan Garden Centre or The Fremantle Community Garden Centre). This should be complimented with 1-2 of shovelfuls of compost, plus broad spectrum slow release fertiliser such as Osmocoate, Dynamic Lifter or a specially formulated 'tree
tablet'.. The planting holes should be excavated to create shallow planting basins -10-15cm deep and 50-80cm wide. This will help collect and direct water towards the new plant. Ideally the site should be free of weeds or thick matted vegetation prior
Weed Control: will be essential especially where weeds such as Couch, Kikuyu or Rye Grass are present. Ideally begin weed control in spring, in the year prior to work, as well as in the lead up to planting. Expect to have to do follow up weed control during the growing season.
Going organic: Organic weed control will rely on scalping back weeds from planting areas by hand or, on a larger scale, with a bobcat. Follow up hand weeding will be vital. In the lead up to planting you can smother the weed area with thick heavy black plastic or wool carpet using the suns heat to kill weeds through a process called solarisation, or you can scalp away about 1m2 of weeds around each planting site. Follow up hand weeding will be needed to ensure revegetation success especially when couch is involved!
Planting: it is essential that planting is done ASAP after the first rains, eg late March or April. Make sure that at least 2-5cm of soil covers the top of the 'root ball' to prevent drying out. 'Firm in' soil down around to the plant roots to remove air pockets, sprinkle a good handful of organic fertiliser on top of the plant along with a heavy covering of mulch available through www.mulchnet.com
Natural Vegetation Type: Sands were typically covered in Jarrah, Marri and or Tuart forest in the better soils. Banksia woodland dominated on the very poor sands.
By the Way....Water repellency can be a big problem in sandy soils, hampering water absorption and hence plant growth and survival. Wetting agents applied, mixed and watered in around the base of the plants will help. For lawns and garden beds these should be applied 2-3 times in a year (Late spring, mid summer and autumn) for trees and shrubs a once application when planting should suffice.
Sandy Soil: Thirty Tried and Tested Species...... All plants chosen here are attractive, hardy and tolerant of drought conditions. More details on their uses and growth characteristics can be gained from good nursery catalogues.