The Q&A Archives: Muddy-Hardy Ground

Question: Hi, the soil on my yard gets so muddy when wet and hard as a rock when it dries. What can I do? I can't seem to grow much of anything, even trees are not growing. I would appreciate some suggestions.

Thank you,

Answer: Sounds like clay soil to me! Native plants are perfectly adapted to your soils so concentrate on those types of plants for your landscape. You can amend the soil in vegetable and perennial beds with the addition of organic matter. Start by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the bed. You can use compost, aged manure, shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies or perennials and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular garden. Best wishes with your landscape.

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