Soil improvement question

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May 31, 2018
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I have 5 muscadine vines in my backyard. This is the second full season since I planted them. All but one has been doing well this season. The one that has not been doing well was planted next to an unused private driveway and I believe that the crushed gravel extends further than the driveway.

Would it suffice to break up the gravel and amend the soil, or should I dig it out and replace with garden soil?
I think at least a part of the answer to your question lies with how much rainfall do you get, where is your water table, and do you need to irrigate. If you get adequate rainfall and the gravel is superficial it shouldn't be a problem. I have an old concrete driveway buried where I wanted to plant some vines this spring, I broke a hole with a sledgehammer and put in the vine, assuming the roots would grow under the concrete , they are doing fine, but I get a lot of rainfall.
Crushed gravel, in itself, is not a problem. I grow my new vine cuttings in gravel.

But, even if now not used, the soil may be compacted from the driveway's use over time, hindering root growth. I would just break up the soil, as deep as you can, while trying to minimize root damage to the vine (which may be difficult now). Best now to use a pick, not a shovel as a shovel will more likely cut roots.
I have a private well on my property and set up irrigation at the beginning of this season. Right now is the rainy season and we’ve been getting a fair amount of rain.

I used my pick and found the gravel severely compacted. That would probably explain why this particular vine was stunted this season.

Thanks for the advice.
It’s been a while but I got a basic soil test and tested the soil of my underperforming vine today. It showed that the soil is slightly alkaline and NPK deficient. That explains why the vine wasn’t doing so well this year. Should I be concerned about the PH?
Muscadine vines thrive best in 5.8-6.5 ph range. I would say you need to try to lower your ph. Sulfur works well if you can till it in around the plants. This may damage the roots a bit, but might be worth it in the long run. You could also fertilize with an acidic fertilizer or use peat moss
If they used crushed limestone, then it will slowly raise the ph over time. Horticultural sulfur will do the job, but I usually use Hollytone fertilizer to help with slightly alkaline soil and it feeds the plant. peat moss will work, but it will take time as it has to start to break down to increase ph.

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