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Kim
Ammendments for clay soil?

We are building a house and getting ready to start on the yard work. All the dozer work is complete and we are left with a lot of clay. I thought about working compost in all around the house where I will have my landscaping. Is there anything else I should add? sand, small gravel, or anything else for drainage? The clay is very hard.

I live in Western Ky.

A. Spruce
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?
morcolt wrote:

We are building a house and getting ready to start on the yard work. All the dozer work is complete and we are left with a lot of clay. I thought about working compost in all around the house where I will have my landscaping. Is there anything else I should add? sand, small gravel, or anything else for drainage? The clay is very hard.

I live in Western Ky.

The only way to break up clay and improve the soil is by the addition of organic matter. Compost is excellent, as is composted manure with wood chips or straw bedding. Before amending the soil, make sure your grading is completed, including any drainage systems and irrigation, then apply the organic matter and work it into the soil. Hardpan clay will soften with water to allow easier working. If the soil is as bad as you're implying, then I would personally use 4" to 6" of organic matter spread across the ground, work it in as deep as possible (alloting for drainage and irrigation obstacles ) and then repeat.

BobbyBL
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?

I've added sand along with compost for a few small projects, but not for a large area. You can't go wrong with a sand ammendment - it will surely improve structure - but only if secondary to organic matter. Your local supplier can probably mix them for you before delivery. If you cant get it pre-mixed, then don't break your back -- just stick with compost. you should be adding about one third to one half compost to original soil.

Danz
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?

Your best bet is to use organic matter, with compost being the better type of O.M. Don't mix sand with your clay soil, it will make something similar to concrete. The very small particles of clay will fit inbetween the much larger particles of sand to pack very well.

mpriley05
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?

I agree with the organic matter comments. Also - don't forget to mulch everything you plant. For that matter, mulch the whole lot - don't plant grass at all! Just remember, mulch no deeper than 4" and keep the mulch away from the trunks...

A. Spruce
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?
mpriley05 wrote:

Just remember, mulch no deeper than 4"...

I've never understood this. Laying in a 4" deep layer of mulch will settle to half of that in short order, resulting in bare spots and washout. It's also not adequate for holding back weed growth, particularly more aggressive types like Bermuda grass runners.

Going with the theory that mulch settles to half it's thickness, then applications should be a minimum 6" to 8" deep. The resultant settled depth will be 3" to 4" and pretty densely intertwined, creating a more stable layer and thicker blanket that will prevent the majority of weed growth.

Just my experience.

havanagranite
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?
morcolt wrote:

We are building a house and getting ready to start on the yard work. All the dozer work is complete and we are left with a lot of clay. I thought about working compost in all around the house where I will have my landscaping. Is there anything else I should add? sand, small gravel, or anything else for drainage? The clay is very hard.

I live in Western Ky.

we have pretty much the same soil as you. I live in north florida according to the map but in georgia according to soil type (that georgia clay) we rotovate in a large amount of sand to help with drainage then in the upper layer we add in the organic matter. with out mixing in the sand our yard is like one big rock between rain showers but mixing in the sand makes it able to work with a shovel. and the organic matter mixed in the top makes for the best garden in the neighborhood

canuk
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?

Ditto havana's comments..... pretty much the same with our gumbo clay.

havanagranite
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?
canuk wrote:

Ditto havana's comments..... pretty much the same with our gumbo clay.

I thought gumbo was from louisiana???? oh wait cajun, canuk both french..... never mind:D

canuk
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?
havanagranite wrote:

I thought gumbo was from louisiana???? oh wait cajun, canuk both french..... never mind:D

That would be the French Canucks .:p:D

mpriley05
Re: Ammendments for clay soil?

A.Spruce - Check out "Problems asssociated with improper mulching" here

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