The Q&A Archives: Virginia Hard Clay

Question: How can one improve one's hard clay lawn to grow anything other than wireweed?

Answer: There's no overnight method to improve heavy clay soil, but you can improve its fertility over a 3-4 year period and then maintain it by annual incorporation of organic matter. You can also help loosen your soil by sowing a cover crop in the fall and digging it into the soil in the spring prior to planting. Start with 4-5 inches of compost or other organic matter over the top of the garden bed and digging it in to a depth of 10-12 inches. Add an organic mulch and dig it in this fall prior to planting your fall cover crop. Expect it to take several years - but with persistence you can have terrific soil.

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