Ammending Soil for Whips?

I have very sandy soil in my orchard. This year I will be putting in some cherry and apple bare root whips from Stark’s Brothers. I have read that you shouldn’t amend the soil for bare root trees but one of the two whips I previously planted died and the other didn’t show much vigor without amendment.

For apple and cherry whips do you suggest amending sandy soil? If so what amendment do you think should be added and how much?

I’d just mulch and fertilize regularly. In really sandy soil nitrogen is leached out in one good rain. Apply a small amount monthly until July. The beauty is you are in control. If vigor gets too high just cut back on water and fertilizer.

Generally the problem with sandy soil is the lack of organic matter, which is what holds the nutrients and moisture. Often the problems with amending soil become more of an issue with heavy clay soils where you can end up creating a washtub affect and the water does not drain away from the trees roots. A good layer of compost or other high organic matter on the soils surface will benefit your soil in the long run as well. As it decomposes it will leach down into your sandy soil. Unfortunately with Stark you do not know the root stock you are getting either.

Thank you both. My main concern was the water holding capacity of the soil and the fact that whips are rather vulnerable the first year. I think what I will end up doing is a 2 or 3 inch layer of top soil with mulch above and native soil below. That should hold enough moisture to insulate the plants but still encourage deep root growth.