Amending Clay Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Elderwood, CA (Zone 8B)
Question by hydro_yellow
July 6, 2005
When I add mulch to my clay soil to loosen the particles, how deep should I go? Does it depend on the type of plant we plan on putting in this area, and does it help that there is a water line underneath? Do the soil conditioners help with aeration in clay soil?


Image
Answer from NGA
July 6, 2005

0

Soil building is a continual process, not a one-time thing. To improve your soil, incorporate plenty of compost before every planting season. In clay soils, compost improves soil fertility and drainage. Add a 4-6 inch layer of compost and incorporate it about 12-18 inches deep. You can use manure if it is well-aged (6 months) or you won't be planting until it has lost it's heat and decomposed. Each planting season, add more compost. You may want to incorporate a balanced fertilizer (e.g., 10-10-10) or add organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, and seaweed/kelp at the same time. Follow package instructions. After planting, add a 1-2 inch layer of mulch. Mulch is great to help retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and as it breaks down it provides nutrients to the soil. Any organic matter can be used as mulch. Try compost, bark, wood chips, straw, or pine needles. As it breaks down, dig it into your soil and add more. A rototiller isn't absolutely necessary; you can incorporate the amendments by digging them in with a shovel. Playground or builder's sand will suffice, but I'd stay away from the very fine beach-type sand. Hope your garden blooms beyond your expectations!

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "Working with Purple & White"