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mongo_jones

hostas

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in final confirmation of my middle-aged, suburban householder status, yesterday i received a large consignment of hostas from someone in town pulling out a bunch of theirs. there are apparently more to come soon. we are looking to turn a large shaded section on one side of the house into a hosta preserve so we don't have to look at the weeds from our living room windows and also so that we don't have to do any actual high-maintenance gardening. the big pain is that the soil there is very heavily compacted. with a shovel and a garden fork i managed to turn over earth for one long bed and mixed in a fair bit of compost. however, it took some doing because the soil is HARD: even after turning the soil over the holes i dug for the root balls were more like the holes i carved out of the hard soil. which makes me wonder about how the roots will grow. so i have two related questions for the avid gardeners:

1. will the plants be able to work it out on their own? or do i need to pull them out again, rework the soil to a greater depth and replant?

2. if the soil does need to be reworked--for this bed and for the likely expansion to come--how deep should i be going? the complication here is that we recently had some water remediation work done on that side of the house and there are some new sump pump and downspout drainage pipes not too deep in the ground there (this might be why the soil is so heavily compacted, i suppose).

i thenk yew!

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.How deep are we talking here? Are the plants at the correct depth at least? Its really hard to judge without seeing how compacted the soil is, but yes that will slow the spread of the corms. Good news though is that Hostas are pretty fool proof. At least in our climate. Assuming slugs and deer don't eat them. 

You could use a mattock for the new beds you'll need to dig. More effective in situations like this.  I don't think depth is really your issue here - you want to enable them to spread.

Also the cool kidz these days are saying don't mix in compost for ornamental stuff assuming the soil isn't like super sandy or something - in which case the uber-cool kids would say don't plant hostas.  Makes the plants better adapted in the long-run.

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the plants are at the correct depth. i mixed in the compost mostly to loosen the soil.

elsewhere i'm being told not to worry about it.

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I think I wouldn't worry about it. I'm also a middle aged homeowner and have planted, divided, and re-planted many hostas in poor soil and they always seems to do just fine.

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