clay soil - Knowledgebase Question

Charlotte, No
Question by jpeters55
January 14, 2010
What do you suggest to improve clay soil other than digging it out and replacing with bagged soil? Is there anything I can do to improve the clay soil to allow grass to grow?


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Answer from NGA
January 14, 2010

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Clay soil can be a gardener's nightmare! You can begin, on a small scale, to improve the soil by working in lots of compost or other organic matter. Choose flower or vegetable beds that you want to plant this year and spread a three or four inch layer of mulch on top. Work it in to a depth of at least six inches, deeper if you can. Continue to do this year after year to help "fluff" up the soil. If you start small, in beds you plan to use immediately, you can spread your soil improvement efforts throughout the yard over several growing season. Persistence will pay off and eventually you'll have a loamy-type soil that will drain well yet hold important nutrients and moisture. For areas with lawn, you can improve the soil by aerating the turf. You can rent a core aerator which will pull one inch wide by three inch long plugs out of the soil. Leave the plugs on the ground to weather away and spread a thin layer of compost or sand over the lawn when you've finished aerating. The sand or compost, along with the soil from the plugs will work its way down into the holes made by the aerator. The result will be looser soil with spaces for roots and water to move into. Best wishes with your landscape.

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