The Q&A Archives: Planting Flowers in Georgia Clay

Question: I am a beginning gardener and just bought a home in Georgia. We don't have regular dirt here -- we have red clay. Should I put a layer of Top Soil over the clay to plant flowers?? If so, what kind and how much. I'd appreciate any directions you can give me. Thanks!

Answer: Yvette,

You can add some topsoil over the clay and then mix it in well. You might also or instead add a few inches of compost to the soil and mix it thoroughtly into the clay to improve it significantly. It may be helpful also to contact the County Extension Office and inquire about having your soil tested. While you are waiting on the soil test results take the necessary steps to remove or destroy any weeds in the garden area. This is especially important if there are perennial weeds such as nutsedge or bermudagrass. This may require digging or spraying with an appropriate labeled product. When the soil test results are in add any needed nutrients to bring them up to the desired level. Spread about 2 inches of compost over the soil and mix it in about 6 inches deep with a spading fork or rototiller. This will do more than anything to improve the soil by improving both internal drainage as well as nutrient and moisture holding capacity.

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