Best time to add compost?


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I am realizing I have to reassess my use of compost. I have added some to my raised beds this December. Our growing season here in Southeast Coastal Georgia begins in February and runs till late November. When would be the next best time to add compost? And, do I just put it on top of the soil, or should it be mixed into the soil even if there are plants growing already? I am receiving some bare root trees from the Arbor Tree foundation, and they were saying not to add compost to the planting spot because it could burn the roots. So, when would or do I add compost to either flowering or fruit trees? I should mention the compost is fully decomposes having been made in my compost tumbler. I would be most grateful for advice from this forum.
 
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Logan

Logan
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If you have plants already in just put the compost on top, you don't have to work it in but be careful not to cover the stems it could rot them. For the trees put it on top after planting, again be careful of the stems, can do it at the start of the growing season.
 
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Any time is the correct time to add compost on top of the soil. When planting trees only backfill with what was taken out of the hole. Do not mix compost, potting soil or other soil into the soil you removed. You can add fertilizer because it doesn't last long. The reason for this is that adding fertile soils to what was removed encourages the roots to stay in place and and grow in a circular pattern and not into the surrounding soil. Also, when digging the hole, dig it into a squarish hole and not a round hole. Roots will follow the path of least resistance and a round hole encourages the roots to grow in a circular pattern also. Put a 2 or 3 inch layer of compost on top of the soil and then cover the compost with mulch so as to keep it from blowing or washing away, plus this will help in moisture and temperature control.
 
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Thanks so much for your help. I will keep all this in mind when planting trees and the vegetables. At this point, I don't have anything to use for mulch, so I'll keep an eye out around the neighborhood.
 

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