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FallbrookCA

Sand instead of mulch for cover?

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FallbrookCA

Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using sand as opposed to mulch for cover around a palm? I was possibly thinking of using Sandbox sand (the white type), but have noooo idea whether this could be bad for the palms. Just to be exact, I have Queens, Kings, Foxtails, Pygmy dates, and Majesty. Thanks for any info

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BS Man about Palms

In the long run its no improvement for the soil, nor does it retain moisture.

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redbeard917

At the local aquarium, there is a succulent planting bed with white beach sand for mulch. One thing I found was that picking all the leaves and other debris, along with discolored sand (stained by irrigation water), got pretty time consuming. The easiest way I found to maintain the look was to sweep up the top 1/4 inch or so of sand with a broom and dustpan, dump it somewhere, and add fresh new sand on top. The succulents didn't seem to mind the sand-mulch, though the flowering plants looked like they were a bit unstable because their roots were mostly in the deeper part of the soil.

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Got Palms

If you have any cats in the neighborhood they are going to love you, i had a fire pit with sand and they were able to get to it even with three jack russels in the yard. And as BS said it will not retain moisture which in your area just like mine is vital. Sergio!

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_Keith

It can also, over time, create a favorable environment for the nematodes you don't want.

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FallbrookCA

If you have any cats in the neighborhood they are going to love you, i had a fire pit with sand and they were able to get to it even with three jack russels in the yard. And as BS said it will not retain moisture which in your area just like mine is vital. Sergio!

They might love me, but they sure as hell wont love my 100lb German Shepherd when he sinks his teeth into their a$$!!

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FallbrookCA

It can also, over time, create a favorable environment for the nematodes you don't want.

Why would sand create a favorable enviroment for nematodes?

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FallbrookCA

In the long run its no improvement for the soil, nor does it retain moisture.

Wouldn't it aerate the soil a little then mulch considering mulch will retaim moisture more? I guess I'm trying to weigh out the difference between aeration versus moisture retaining. I have soil thats pretty much clayish, except where i planted the palms (that soil was dug out and replaced)

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soro

In the long run its no improvement for the soil, nor does it retain moisture.

Wouldn't it aerate the soil a little then mulch considering mulch will retaim moisture more? I guess I'm trying to weigh out the difference between aeration versus moisture retaining. I have soil thats pretty much clayish, except where i planted the palms (that soil was dug out and replaced)

You would need to mix it with the soil to get any effect from it but it is not going to happen just by adding it to the top. I can't see any advantage in this. Sand has no nutrients, does not retain moisture and does not support the kind of microscopic life you would want there. It gets blown all over the place in windy conditions and IMO looks ugly.

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Walter John

Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using sand as opposed to mulch for cover around a palm?

Sand could be used as a mulch, it would still play a part in some of the reasons for using mulch.

One definition I like for mulch is this :

Mulch is a protective layer (organic or in-organic) over the ground, which covers an area upon which a crop is grown and is generally used to enhance productivity by conserving moisture and preventing evaporation, suppressing weed growth, extending growing seasons, and aid in fumigation and fertilization and minimizes temperature fluctuations.

actually that's a combo definition I took from a few definitions.

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Daryl

And many types of sand become water repellant once they dry out....not good if you want to get water to your palms.

Daryl

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Walter John

And many types of sand become water repellant once they dry out....not good if you want to get water to your palms.

Daryl

That's exactly right, I was just about to say that.. :unsure:

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Tyrone

If sand is a mulch, my soil is all mulch.

Seriously, although sand drains well, it has no organic matter and nematodes etc love that environment. Sand is a pretty useless mulch actually. It won't retain moisture, and it can become water repellant. I can see why succulents do alright in it, most palm swill not thrive in straight sand.

Tyrone

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Trópico

I've seen it used closer to the beach, white sand as mulch. It gives that beach look to your landscaping. However, I would think you'll get weed infestations during the rainy season.

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BeaumontTropics

What about using both? Use mulch underneath, to help retain moisture and reduce weed growth, then put a thin layer of white sand on top to achieve that "beachy" look? Just a thought, weigh in on this palmtalk "Vets!"

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yachtingone

Intresting subject.

I used sand as a decorative element as many of you have seen as pictured below.

The sand is #12 grain size. It does not blow around because it is too heavy. I averaged about 1" thick.

I look foward to the sand getting the dirty look. It,s too bright and artificial looking when new.

It does lower the water needs of the plants for two reasons. First it's light colored which reflects sunlight better than dirt or mulch keeping the soil cooler. 2nd is I get hot drying winds that dry the soil fast. That 1" of sand keeps the wind from my soil drying it out less fast!

Mt 2 cents,

Randy

post-1270-12779054086255_thumb.jpg

PS The desert area of my garden is a very small part of the garden area in my backyard. The rest will be mulched.

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BS Man about Palms

When I was first looking at improving my soil, I wanted to remove all my clay and put in "the good stuff".

Then I found out clay is the beginnings of "really good stuff" as long as you add sand and mulch.

THEN, I found out if the sand is not mixed RIGHT, you effectively make CONCRETE!

I then found out you can get there slower if you just put mulch on the top of your yard and let nature do its work for the next couple years. So far its working a treat.

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FallbrookCA

When I was first looking at improving my soil, I wanted to remove all my clay and put in "the good stuff".

Then I found out clay is the beginnings of "really good stuff" as long as you add sand and mulch.

THEN, I found out if the sand is not mixed RIGHT, you effectively make CONCRETE!

I then found out you can get there slower if you just put mulch on the top of your yard and let nature do its work for the next couple years. So far its working a treat.

Thanks for the info. I guess I probably stick with mulch. I notice your in Oceanside, and I know that the Waste center in Oceanside has various mulch from certain trees, have you had any experiance getting mulch there? If so which one would you recommend?

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BS Man about Palms

The mulch is not from certain trees, its at different sizes and moves towards compost as it ages. I use Forest fines or Orchard mulch.

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freakypalmguy

A Copy and Paste

Important facts about the soil

Types of soil: -Clay, silt and sand are the three types of soil. Most soils are a blend of all three types. The texture and appearance of soil depends on the content of each of these. Sand is mainly granular and is composed of rock particles and minerals. Clay has fine-grained minerals and high water content. Silt is a granular material derived from rock. It may occur as a deposition in water. Silt is also known as stone-dust.

Composition of soil: -Soil holds 0.01% of the Earth's water. Soil is a composition of 49% Oxygen, 33% Silicone, 7% Aluminum, 4% Iron, and 2% Carbon. Air and water make up 50% of the soil. Minerals and organic matter make up the rest.

Formation of soil: -Soil formation is a lengthy process. Soil forms by the process of physical or chemical weathering of rocks. Microorganisms in the soil help in breakdown of organic matter in the soil. Decaying of plants and animals helps in the formation of soil. Earthworms recycle nutrients thus making the soil richer.

Layers of soil: -The topmost layer of soil is called topsoil. It contains high amounts of humus and microorganisms. Biological activity occurs most in this layer. It is from this layer that plants derive their nutrients. Not much humus is present in the layer below this layer. The process of leaching brings down the minerals from the upper layers to the layers below. The bottom-most layer consists of withered rock.

Interesting Facts about the soil

-Soil influences many areas of our lives. It is an integral part of our ecosystem. The composition of the soil in an area has a direct effect on the plant and animal life there.

-It takes more than 500 years to form 2 centimeters of topsoil.

-Ten tonnes of topsoil spread evenly over one hectare of land comes out to be as thick as one Euro coin.

-A fully functional soil holds 3750 tonnes of water per hectare, thus reducing the risk of floods. It holds pollutants to a certain extent. Soil stores around 10% of the emissions of carbon dioxide.

-Just one gram of soil contains 5000 to 7000 different species of bacteria. A spoonful of soil can hold a substantial amount of living beings.

-Scientists have found 10,000 types of soil in Europe and about 70,000 types of soil in the United States.

-75% of the earth’s crust is composed of silica and oxygen.

-Soil is a non-renewable natural resource. This should make us think of how much we value this resource. Damage to the soil can disturb nature’s balance and prove a threat to life.

It is in this soil that crops grow and we can obtain our food. Many of the antibiotics that stand as remedies for infections, were obtained from microorganisms in the soil. As a matter of fact, agriculture remains to be the only essential industry. Soil in its various forms plays a major role in our lives. In the words of the Greek philosopher, poet Xenophanes, "For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth."

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FallbrookCA

The mulch is not from certain trees, its at different sizes and moves towards compost as it ages. I use Forest fines or Orchard mulch.

Thanks again

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Palm crazy

Do not use play sand in your soil, it is different than regular sand bags and is never recommended for gardens. Use tube sand which will have different sizes of sand and very small stones. White sand will turn green during the winter if you have lots of rain.

I agree with the post above. Never add sand to clay soil or you'll get cement. :angry:

Regular sand will hold moister down below, but will dry out on the top very fast. I use regular sand as a top dressing to add more drainage but I uses very little, and in my sandy part of the garden I never have to uses it but add organic matter.

Cheers.

Edited by Palm crazy

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_Keith

It can also, over time, create a favorable environment for the nematodes you don't want.

Why would sand create a favorable enviroment for nematodes?

I started paying attention to this a couple of years ago after reading a news article that a local golf course was replacing the soil due to nematode problems, and knowing that is something we don't usually have to deal with here. I always thought of nematodes as a Florida problem, not here.

See this article: http://entnemdept.uf...ng_nematode.htm "Sting nematodes are recognized as the major nematode pest on golf courses in Florida. Because of the sandy native soils in much of the state these nematodes are damaging on greens, fairways and even roughs. Because putting greens are typically constructed with high sand content they may harbor sting nematodes even when native soils are not sandy enough to support them. Many golf course greens in central Texas are infested with sting nematodes even though the native soil is heavy clay that will not support the nematodes."

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Stayin Classy

I was wondering if I can use play sand as a top layer for my indoor areca palm plant? I have my place done in coastal decor & would look beautiful but at the same time I want to make sure it won't kill the plant. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!!

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aztropic

A 1/2" layer will be fine...

 

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

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sonoranfans

there are different kinds of nematodes, good and bad, not just the bad ones that eat roots.  The bad ones exist predominantly in sand here in florida.  The final decomposition product of mulch, humic and fulvic acids, support the health of good nematodes and discourage and even kill the bad ones.  I would never add sand to my sandy soil, I am constantly adding mulch after the last covering drops into the soil column and decomposes.  IF you have heavy clay, I would ammend it with ~20% sand and add 30% organic matter when planting.  Clay and organic matter have cation exchange capacities for the fertilizer nutrients like Mg, Mn, K, all the good stuff.   this mens they can store nutrients for a time, giving continuous access to roots.  Sand has about zero cation exchange capacity.  In dry desert areas, mulch doesnt work well to retain moisture as it dries out too fast and partly blows away.  In the desert, granite rock on top holds moisture in the soil(prevents evaporation) and the clay plus sand can supply good drainage and the ion exchange capacity needed.  Really dry environments limit the penetration of mulch into the soil column and prevent efficient degradation into natural nutrients of humic acid/fulvic acid.  I used to use lots of humic/fulvic in my yard in arizona which was sand and clay with granite on top.  It worked very well with no mulch at all.

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