3 Trees That Do Well in Chalky Soil

Chalky soil can be difficult to work with. Not only is it usually shallow and stony, but it also has poor drainage and an alkaline pH that many plants struggle in.

That said, if the majority of the soil in your garden is relatively chalky, don’t despair. There are plenty of trees and smaller plants that’ll thrive in this soil type – you just need to make sure that you pick the right ones.


The Dragon Tree

If you’re looking for a new feature tree, you can’t go wrong with a Dragon Tree. There are several varieties to choose from but we love the Dracaena Draco. Why? Because not only is this an extremely low-maintenance variety that happens to be shade- and cold-tolerant too, but it’s also one that’ll do well in chalky soil.

That said, dragon trees do appreciate good drainage. One low-effort way to do this is by regularly mulching your trees. It’s not going to improve the drainage of your chalky soil overnight, but it will definitely help to do this over time.


The Olive Tree

Fruit trees require a fair amount of nutrients in order to produce their annual harvests, meaning that there is only a handful of fruit trees that are suitable for chalky soil. One of these is the Olive Tree – since it hails from the Mediterranean, it’s used to drier conditions.

Olive trees are extremely adaptable, which is why this is often a go-to for less-than-perfect soil types. However, keep in mind that in addition to extra irrigation during the summer months, you’ll also need to feed your olive trees since your chalky soil won’t be able to provide them with all of the nutrients that they need. By all means, leave your trees to fend for themselves and they will probably do just fine, but don’t expect to be harvesting huge quantities of olives either.


The Queensland Bottle Tree

Although the Queensland Bottle Tree prefers its soil to be slightly acidic, it’s also highly versatile, so will tolerate chalky soil so long as you make sure that you meet its other growing requirements.

This is a tree that’s known for being drought-tolerant, thanks to how it stores a reservoir of water in the layer between the trunk and inner bark. However, this drought-tolerant nature only really applies to moisture-retentive soil – if you’re planting a bottle tree into chalky soil that’s already on the dry side, you’ll need to make up for this with regular waterings. Some extra fertiliser could also be beneficial – just make sure that you don’t overfeed your tree.


Hopefully, this has given you some inspiration when it comes to adding new trees to your chalky garden. While these three may be great trees to start off with, don’t forget that you can also work to improve the quality of your soil over time, which will then give you access to a greater variety of trees and plants in the future.


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