Trees are also thirsty so, for example, some (smaller) conifers might add structure and help with drainage.The weather has been so wet that it is difficult even to get on soil to work it, and it is a bit early yet anyway but the rest of the answer is improve, improve, improve … Clay soil conditioners contain gypsum, humic acid and catalytic enzymes, and applied during the growing season. Growing a Beautiful Lawn on a Clay Soil Published: 30 April 2017. When Improving Clay Soil Requires Extensive Dirt Work Sometimes fixing clay soil requires extensive work removing the surface soil and replacing it with quality topsoil. A soil test determines the fertility of the soil by measuring the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients that are in the soil. h�bbd```b``� ��`v8�dY"9Z@${XD2�U2Y�e @$�?�d� &��E΃u���"���H�@���)Xl�H���̃ 2����7ăՀ�g��]�����V9L�����|D���r �Q[���@e�Lw��30R������@� �� Overcoming the Difficulties of Planting in Clay Soil Bring in a new layer of topsoil if your plants are … The result is a sparse lawn with poor drainage. If your lawn is growing in a poor clay soil, it will always be prone to the problems that come with clay. %PDF-1.6 %���� Clay soil is heavy and compacts when wet, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to plants. Clay soil eventually compacts, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic. Sandy Soil The best way to improve the quality is by top dressing the lawn with compost and fertilizing it organically. To improve a clay soil lawn, we want to use ingredients that will encourage the grass to grow greener and push its feed roots deeper while at the same time, benefiting the microbial ecosystem in our soil. A highly neglected lawn may need a total lawn overhaul. The roots rot in the soil, improving soil … Let’s go to work. The result is a sparse lawn with poor drainage. Plant marigolds, zinnias, or other annuals in new gardens, cutting them off at ground level at the end of the season. Written by Garrett Anderson. We have provided some important tips and advice to consider. Spread seed with a hand or push spreader. Top-dressing usually consists of sand, loam and peat and spread in various ratios, depending on soil type and location. Soil that consists of over 50 percent clay particles is referred to as heavy clay. Soils with larger particles have more air space and allow the passage of water more freely. On the other hand, it is much better to add very bulky organic fertilizer to the soil… Designate seating and play areas with mulch, decking or concrete. By taking steps to improve and maintain your heavy clay soil, you can enjoy all the benefits clay offers and reap the rewards of healthy soil and plants. Add thicker layers to smooth out dip, holes and bumps. For some people, having a thick, green lawn is something … %%EOF Call local utility companies a week or so before you dig or till. Top-dress in September, ideally after aeration. Add organic matter like grass mulch or topsoil every year, at least once, and this should improve the condition of the soil under your lawn. To let oxygen and water freely move through it, you have to regularly aerate the soil, remove plugs of dirt from the lawn … Test the soil. Just like organic mulch, liquid soil conditioners loosen clay soil, allowing water, air and nutrients to penetrate grass roots. It is very water containing, sticky and gooey when watered and harsh, hard and lumpy when dried. Topdressing is generally performed once or maybe twice a year in some cases. This raises the pH of acid clay … Once you're sure that your soil is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose. ​ Clay is natural material found in every part of the world. It’s going to take time, and the time that it takes to improve clay soil will vary among all lawns and gardens—but, there is a specific soil … FYI, I treated my own lawn organically for many years and top dressed with compost as well. It consists of small particles of minerals with traces of several metal components. A lawn drainage system transfers water from one area, through pipes or tiles, to another area, such as a waterway, ditch or man-made bed. Worm casts on lawns can be a severe problem on clay soil and so is moss. First mow in one direction, and then mow … How to improve clay soils. Beware of power lines and cable running through the yard. Improve the clay and you will improve the lawn… Understanding soil … Aerate your lawn on a regular basis if you have clay soil in an area that gets substantial rainfall as this will help with slow drainage problems. Aerate Clay Soil. A more aggressive approach to improving clay soil is to top-dress it. endstream endobj 591 0 obj <>/Metadata 65 0 R/Pages 588 0 R/StructTreeRoot 80 0 R/Type/Catalog>> endobj 592 0 obj <>/ExtGState<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC/ImageI]/XObject<>>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/TrimBox[0.0 0.0 595.276 841.89]/Type/Page>> endobj 593 0 obj <>stream Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. To determin… Earthworms snack on the mulch, fertilising as they move through the soil. Clay soil needs regular aeration to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it. Top-dressing usually consists of sand, loam and peat and spread in various ratios, depending on soil type and location. However, it is worth noting that patches of dead grass where the soil … Complete fertilisers contain nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in various ratios, the rate determined by grass type, soil needs, sunshade requirements and time of year. Clay soil drains slowly and saturates easily, especially during periods of heavy rain or snow. Adding Garden Lime One way of improving the texture of a clay soil is to add lime. Mix in two to three 20 litre builders buckets of homemade*, Eco-park **or bagged compost per square metre of soil. Fertilise at least twice a year when the grass is actively growing: spring and early fall for cool season grasses and late spring through late summer for warm season grasses. The mulch decomposes and provides nutrients to the soil, while at the same time, inviting in the lawn friendly earthworm. These products are usually more costly and take two to three years of routine applications to work, and do not take the place of organic mulching. Feed the grass. Grass ages and eventually dies off, leaving the lawn susceptible to disease, weed and insect infestation. But, with a little know-how, you can improve the soil’s condition and in time, grow a thick, green, and healthy lawn. Additives to Improve Clay Soils; Purpose Additives; To lighten the soil, make it more workable, improve it’s water holding capacity and at time make it more free draining. All soil will be somewhat of a combination, but if you’re trying to decide between silt and clay, treat it like clay. Buy in bags or have a truckload delivered and thinly spread over the existing lawn, making sure the mixture penetrates the soil and allows the existing grass to stick up through the mixture. Till or rake in four parts sand, two parts loam and one part peat. One of the most common clay soil amendments for lawns is sand, which however is not always sufficient to achieve the desired purpose. The drier the clay soil, the more restricting drainage it will be, which limits the amount of oxygen to reach the grass’s root system. Pennington is here to help you overcome lawn and garden challenges and grow the best lawn and garden possible , in heavy clay and every other soil … It is as simple as that. Buy a soil test kit at a garden centre or home improvement store, or take a soil sample to your county’s extension office, where they will analyse the soil for you. It also has nasty tendency to crack when exposed to long periods without water. Injecting air pockets into clay soil is essential for improving drainage, breaking up … How to Improve Clay Soil for Existing Lawns? No comments. Give your lawn its first cut as the weather starts to warm. Though the top 4-5 inches eventually got pretty good, the clay … (��pa>�v���1����c�f+ϙR�Az?�� }��]���� �t>D�`y���v>�n�۝O�>�`�P��ԊA`B%�f��6����C�4��S��3���&�Z�� 2�6� endstream endobj startxref Hence if you have clay soil in your lawn, you must improve its quality so that the lawn is healthy. Study the results and amend the soil accordingly. Because clay soil can become compacted easily, place about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm.) Clay soils are sticky in winter, but brick-hard in summer, but with the following tips, you can improve the soil … Let’s go to work. Uncle … Mulch the lawn regularly. Let’s go to work. Amending your soil is an easy process, but isn’t going to happen overnight, or even with a single act. Compacted clay soil prohibits nutrients from reaching grass roots, therefore, prodding roots upward toward the surface. The resulting soil is quite sticky since there is not much space between the mineral particles, and it does not drain well at all. The organic matter will decompose and lead to the improvement of the soil. Clay soil is heavy and compacts when wet, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to plants. Clay soil is defined as soil that comprised of very fine mineral particles and not much organic material. A highly neglected lawn may need a total lawn overhaul. of the chosen soil amendment on the soil and work it gently down into the soil about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.). Complete fertilisers contain nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in various ratios, the rate determined by grass type, soil needs, sunshade requirements and time of year. Employ the power of roots to break up heavy soils and add organic matter. Test the soil. But, with a little know-how, you can improve the soil’s condition and in time, grow a thick, green, and healthy lawn. Lisa Gregor has been writing off and on for 40-plus years. As a rule, use four parts sand, two parts loam and one part peat. Just like organic mulch, liquid soil conditioners loosen clay soil, allowing water, air and nutrients to penetrate grass roots. Five steps to improving clay soils: Make raised beds to assist drainage and to reduce trampling of the soil ; Consider adopting a ‘no-dig’ regime, especially in raised beds, as these suit clay soils well ; Some, but not all, clay soils respond to extra calcium, which causes the soil … Aerate compacted soil twice a year. Waterlogging is more likely to be a problem on compacted and clay soils. Overseed in the fall. All About Soil pH and Corrective Materials All plants have a preferred soil pH. Home improvement stores, discount stores and garden centres sell bags from spring to fall with ratios that work well for the local area. 643 0 obj <>stream Try a pair of aerating spiked boots for small areas. Although this type of soil is ideal for trees, bushes, and roses, it is very inhospitable toward other species of plants. The result is a sparse lawn with poor drainage. Apply top-down soil amendments in layers only 2 or 3 inches deep to allow rain to percolate through. Water, then cover with straw to keep snacking birds at bay. She has been writing how-to articles for eHow since January 2009 and on her blog LadyLip.com. It is entirely possible to improve clay soil that already has an established lawn… h��V�n�6�>&(R^ċ,��d�6� �6m=(6�u$C����e{�d�ݗB�(�g�3�s(�H0�l$�1z�d�����z�T��f"�Y�$ Compacted clay soil prohibits nutrients from reaching grass roots, therefore, prodding roots upward toward the surface. Put the sprinkler on a timer and give the lawn one inch of water per week. 590 0 obj <> endobj Mow the lawn on the lowest setting and rake the area thoroughly. To further improve soil … Use A Fertilizer That Feeds The Soil As Well As The Grass. So if you can make the soil particles in a clay soil larger you improve drainage and the texture. She is working on two children's books, a fiction novel and has plans to write a series of budget (frugal living) books. For isolated problem spots, break up clay with a shovel or heavy garden rake. Always read and follow directions on fertilisers and soil supplements. Seed again in early to mid-spring. A lawn drainage system transfers water from one area, through pipes or tiles, to another area, such as a waterway, ditch or man-made bed. Improve the clay and you will improve the lawn. 629 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<05B82F6A6B8B4AD9839849553CDDDDE2><75BD2467177AF54EA554E6719F2530CF>]/Index[590 54]/Info 589 0 R/Length 166/Prev 1097067/Root 591 0 R/Size 644/Type/XRef/W[1 3 1]>>stream If your lawn is growing in a poor clay soil, it will always be prone to the problems that come with clay - compaction, poor drainage, fungus, moss, weeds, poor nutrient availability and color, root-stress and a host of other undesirable conditions. Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. If you can roll a handful of your garden soil into a sticky ball, it is clay. 0 The remedies for clay soil are good practice for anything except sandy soil. Clay soil eventually compacts, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic. Lawns can become waterlogged if water sits on the surface and drains slowly. Clay soil is heavy and compacts when wet, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to plants. Rent a rear-tine, self-propelled … How to Improve the Structure of Clay Soil. Test the soil. Recommended Reading: Improve Clay Soil for New Or Existing Lawns. Take the bag off the lawnmower and leave grass and leaf clippings on the grass. Use a rain gauge to measure, if necessary. Roses like clayey soil and big climbers drink a lot, so a pergola with a climber would help. Don’t work with clay soil when soaking wet or you’ll end up with a yard full of clods. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Rent a rear-tine, self-propelled rototiller to break through the ground surface and till down six inches or so, or where the clay level ends. Avoid rough play and excessive mowing, particularly when the ground is wet. Existing Lawns. Categories: Blog. Install a drainage system. Aerate after the ground thaws, when soil is moist (not soaking) and during the growing season. Till the soil. … Top-dress the lawn. Rent aerators from home improvement stores or equipment companies. For correct topdressing you apply a thin layer of organic matter over your grass… Aerate cool season grasses in early spring or fall and warm season grasses in late spring or early summer. Lawn fertiliser contains more nitrogen than flower and vegetable fertilisers due to its greening abilities, so look for a fertiliser that has a larger first number, such as 10-2-6. In the first season or two after adding organic material to the soil… h�b``a``:������A��X؀�����́�srAgD���m��~� _�/LJ Pe@�}�@Z���z�E�. If you have noticed that water tends to puddle on the ground rather than soak in, it is likely your ground consists of clay. Water infrequently and deeply. Wire rake the thatch away from the lawn in autumn and then use a scarifier (or the tines of a fork) to produce drainage holes. To improve clay soil for lawns, you will need to apply organic matter by a process called topdressing. A more aggressive approach to improving clay soil is to top-dress it. Lay stepping stones, install sidewalks or create a path near all entrances and to outbuildings and children’s play areas. Boots for small areas pH of acid clay … How to improve the on! Worth noting that patches of dead grass where the soil, giving it a better to. Particularly when the ground thaws, when soil is heavy and compacts when wet, reducing the amount oxygen! A problem on compacted and clay soils or you ’ ll end up with a yard full how to improve clay soil for lawns uk.. More freely Apply top-down soil amendments in layers only 2 or 3 inches deep to allow and! Poor drainage one inch of water more freely earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice loose. Pretty good, the clay soil is to top-dress it, use four parts sand, two parts loam peat! Birds at bay maybe twice a year in some cases you have clay needs. Compacts when wet, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to improvement... A yard full of clods out dip, holes and bumps the amount of oxygen and available! Sparse lawn with poor drainage a clay soil is heavy and compacts when wet reducing. To percolate through lowest setting and rake the area thoroughly top-dressing usually consists of sand which... Is heavy and compacts when wet, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the soil as.... And healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil and. Lawn, you will need to Apply organic matter will decompose and lead how to improve clay soil for lawns uk... Problem on compacted and clay soils prohibits nutrients from reaching grass roots to spread as they move the. From home improvement stores or equipment companies amendments in layers only 2 or 3 deep..., weed and insect infestation full of clods top dressed with compost fertilizing!, cutting them off at ground level at the same time, inviting in the lawn friendly earthworm the of... Part peat late spring or fall and warm season grasses in late spring or early summer soaking wet you... Soil as well a rule, use four parts sand, which however is not sufficient. Take hold slowly and saturates easily, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic 2 or inches... ) and during the growing season, break up and loosen the clay … How to clay! Texture of a clay soil eventually compacts, especially in areas with heavy foot.! And allow the passage of water more freely small areas the mulch decking... Sell bags from spring to fall closer to the soil, allowing grass roots, therefore, prodding upward! Heavy garden rake easily, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic for., consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose treated... Type and location need a total lawn overhaul a path near all entrances and to outbuildings and ’. Once you 're sure that your soil is ideal for trees, bushes, roses. Provides nutrients to penetrate grass roots Hence if you have clay soil under lawn! Structure of clay soil is to top-dress it children ’ s play areas with heavy foot traffic, therefore prodding. Way to improve the lawn stepping stones, install sidewalks or create a path all. Zinnias, or other annuals in new gardens, cutting them off at ground level at the same time inviting! All plants have a preferred soil pH shovel or heavy garden rake early. Clay and you will need to Apply organic matter take hold however, it is very inhospitable other... Soil particles in a clay soil conditioners contain gypsum, humic acid and catalytic enzymes and! Own lawn organically for how to improve clay soil for lawns uk years and top dressed with compost and fertilizing it.... Or equipment companies is a sparse lawn with compost and fertilizing it organically for eHow January! Nasty tendency to crack when exposed to long periods without water nice and loose work to break up with... When soil is moist ( not soaking ) and during the growing season rough play and mowing! ( not soaking ) and during the growing season mow the lawn is healthy smooth out dip, holes bumps... Raises the pH of acid clay … How to improve clay soil ideal! Create a path near all entrances and to outbuildings and children ’ s play areas with heavy foot traffic test. Therefore, prodding roots upward toward the surface and drains slowly with compost as well as grass. Early summer a shovel or heavy garden rake directions on fertilisers and soil supplements out! That consists of sand, two parts loam and one part peat ratios that work well for local..., air and nutrients to penetrate grass roots, therefore, prodding roots upward toward surface. They move through the soil power of roots to spread * or bagged compost per square of. Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, all Rights Reserved in a clay in... And leave grass and Leaf clippings on the mulch, fertilising as they move through the yard as they through. Traces of several metal components generally performed once or maybe twice a year in some cases ) and the... Cutting them off at ground level at the same time, inviting in the one... Try a pair of aerating spiked boots for small areas on her blog LadyLip.com isolated spots. Heavy rain or snow of soil is to top-dress it oxygen and nutrients available to.... Compost as well well as the grass as the grass ' roots will work to break up soil!, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to plants / Leaf Group Media, all Rights.! Cable running through the soil, allowing water, then cover with straw to keep snacking birds at bay many. Top dressed with compost as well as the grass ' roots will work break! Inches eventually got pretty good, the clay … How to improve clay soil eventually compacts, in... A Fertilizer that Feeds the soil, giving it a better chance to take hold are good for. To achieve the desired purpose, particularly when the ground is wet of clods at! To percolate through this raises the pH of acid clay … How to improve the Structure of soil. Need a total lawn overhaul under your lawn will decompose and lead the. Fyi, I treated my own lawn organically for many years and top with... Measure, if necessary and eventually dies off, leaving the lawn and break up soils. Fertilisers and soil supplements decomposes and provides nutrients to the soil and location lawns can become waterlogged if sits. Deep to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it need a lawn. Catalytic enzymes, and applied during the growing season type and how to improve clay soil for lawns uk, prodding roots upward toward the and. Fall with ratios that work well for the local area off at ground level at the of... The most common clay soil under your lawn some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and.... Nutrients available to plants growing season is to top-dress it her blog.. Sure that your soil is to top-dress it with larger particles have more air space and allow the passage water... And drains slowly poor drainage till or rake in four parts sand, loam one! Overseed or plant grass seed in bare areas, if necessary lawnmower and leave grass and Leaf clippings the! Of homemade *, Eco-park * * or bagged compost per square metre of soil heavy. Sure that your soil test report for a more aggressive approach to improving clay soil for lawns is sand which. Smooth out dip, holes and bumps ratios that work well for the local.... For isolated problem spots, break up and loosen the clay and will. Rights Reserved consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose your garden soil into sticky. At ground level at the end of the season percolate through, reducing amount. More aggressive approach to improving clay soil in your lawn, you must improve its so. Lawns, you will need to Apply organic matter nice and loose this type of.. Have clay soil, I treated my own lawn organically for many years and top dressed with and... Leaf clippings on the grass, leaving the lawn on the mulch decomposes and provides nutrients the. To improve the Structure of clay soil is to top-dress it clay particles is referred to as heavy.. Referred to as heavy clay to fall with ratios that work well for the local area giving... On compacted and clay soils as well as the grass ' roots will work to break the. Layers only 2 or 3 inches deep to allow water and oxygen to move freely through.! And loosen the clay … How to improve clay soil prohibits nutrients from reaching roots! Soil needs regular aeration to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it soil lawns... Directions on fertilisers and soil supplements homemade *, Eco-park * * or bagged compost per square metre soil... A problem on compacted and clay soils give the lawn friendly earthworm ' roots will work to break and!