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mlrozy
amending clay soil

What can I add to my clumpy clay soil flower bed to make ready to plant flowers, sand, if so what kind play sand, sharp sand, sand with pea stone in it, or just compost, what will work, the pervoius owners had snow on the mountain planted in it, which grows in anything I think, I am currently trying to get rid of it. please help, thanks.

A. Spruce
Re: amending clay soil

Organic amendments are the only thing that will convert clay soil to something that will support life. Compost can be purchased in bulk quantities at any landscape supply if you want to amend the entire area, or it can be bought in bags for point of planting amendment, meaning mix it in the hole that each plant is placed in.

Whatever method you use, be sure to maintain the soil level at 3 to 4 inches below the siding or wall surface of the house, with adequate slop away from the house to prevent water pooling along the foundation. :cool:

Chris
Re: amending clay soil

I've had the best results with mushroom compost. It's a little more expensive than other commercial compost, but is well worth it. I notice vast improvement in a year. The strong aroma only lasts a day or so.

ashdinma
Re: amending clay soil

I too have a VERY clay-filled, wet yard that's also shady - with two big golden retrievers who keep it well compacted for me... My local Agway manager, as well as a couple of nurseries, suggested garden gypsum. They said it may take a few years applying it once a year. I'm going to apply it twice or even three times a year, and see what happens. My neighbor has also had great luck with play sand - he broadcast spreads it (handfulls, thrown like chicken feed) and let's the dogs work it in as they run around.

If I could afford it, I'd till have the whole thing and add a boatload of compost and other healthy amendments. Hoping this will work instead...

A. Spruce
Re: amending clay soil
ashdinma wrote:

I too have a VERY clay-filled, wet yard that's also shady - with two big golden retrievers who keep it well compacted for me... My local Agway manager, as well as a couple of nurseries, suggested garden gypsum. They said it may take a few years applying it once a year. I'm going to apply it twice or even three times a year, and see what happens. My neighbor has also had great luck with play sand - he broadcast spreads it (handfulls, thrown like chicken feed) and let's the dogs work it in as they run around.

If I could afford it, I'd till have the whole thing and add a boatload of compost and other healthy amendments. Hoping this will work instead...

Unfortunately, your proposal won't do much but add a layer of gypsum over the surface. The only way to deal with clay soil is to work amendments into it that will not only break up the clay, but improve it's nutrient content so that grass and shrubs will grow.

My guess is that you've not only got bad soil, you've got bad grading which is holding the water in the yard rather than it naturally draining away. You will go a long way towards curing the "wet" problem by regrading and installing drainage pipe if necessary.

If you are able bodied, equipment rentals are not too expensive and nothing that's been mentioned in this thread is too hard, that you could do most or all of the work yourself.

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