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How To Fix Clay Soil Lawn

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There Are Many Additional Benefits Of Adding Restoreclay And Liquid Humate To Your Lawn And Garden

How To Amend Clay Soil For New and Existing Lawns (5 Easy Steps!)

This article is mainly about improving your clay soil. However, healthy soil is just a tool to grow a beautiful, healthy lawn and gardenor orchard, if you love fresh fruit that is.

In addition to being very beneficial to restoring your heavy clay soil to a life-giving healthy soil, RestoreClay and Liquid Humate will bring you impressive plant health benefits.

Get ready to enjoy the benefits of healthy soil, like these:

  • Deeper, more developed root systems.
  • Better fertilizer utilization and nutrient availability.
  • Improved soil moisture retention
  • Builds the natural immunity of the soil to help control damaging fungus and other soil issues.
  • A Healthier, greener and more vibrant lawn
  • Stronger, healthier, more beautiful flowers
  • Better tasting fruits and vegetables
  • And more.

Should I Add Gypsum Or Lime To Clay Soil

Gypsum is often recommended as a solution to improve clay soil. Applying gypsum to a compact soil usually works well if the clay has a high salt level, as it replaces this substance with calcium. Gypsum added to the ground helps erosion control, reduces water run-off, and helps with seeding. Gypsum is usually not suitable for sandy soils but is excellent in coastal or arid regions.

Take caution about adding too much gypsum or lime, which can be more problematic than beneficial. Both gypsum and lime add calcium to the soil, and lime will help break up clumps in compact soil, but too much lime makes the soil too alkaline. Lime is typically recommended as a solution to alter acidic soil.

Amend Clay Soil With Humic Acid

Humic acid is one of the highly recommended amendments for compacted clay soils in any yard. But how does it work? It generates and activates microbial activity that helps restructure compacted soil.

You should, however, not expect humic acid to break down clay soil that is heavily compacted. For this problem, you may want to use other organic methods such as tilling and adding compost to the soil.

Other great clay soil amendments similar to humic acid include Aerify Plus Liquid Soil Aerator and Soil Conditioner that can help break down compacted clay soil in the lawn.

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How Do I Loosen Compacted Soil

This depends on how badly compacted your lawn is. For a lawn where only the top layer of soil has gotten compacted, the simplest option may be to aerate your lawn. Aeration loosens up the top level of soil without a lot of invasive digging that will disturb your grass. You can have this done by a professional, or rent a lawn aerator yourself at a rental shop.

If aeration doesnt do the trick, you may need to dig a little deeper. A heavy duty roto-tiller can dig up to a foot deep, and will turn over all the topsoil and loosen it. On the plus side, this is enough to fix all but the worst compacted soil. On the downside, this method completely turns over the soil. Youll need to re-seed your lawn, or put down sod to replace your grass.

In the worst cases, you may need to excavate the affected area and fill it in with gravel first. This is generally only the case if youre dealing with a sinkhole or other geological issue. Needless to say, this kind of problem is beyond the scope of most homeowners, and you should probably hire a professional.

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Loosening And Aerating Clay Soil

Garden World

Loosening clay soil takes time and effort. However, with steady amending, clay soil will improve each season. Amendments can be added any time, and mulch can be applied throughout the growing season and winter. After mulch decomposes above ground, it can be used as an amendment by turning it into the topsoil with a garden spade or a digging fork. Deep rototilling is not recommended as it can damage the soil structure.

Amendments for clay soil

Organic matter also attracts more earthworms that create tunnels, drawing the matter below the surface to break up compacted particles.

Common soil amendments include compost, grass clippings, straw, shredded leaves, rotted manure and dried seaweed. Other organic materials such as spent garden plants, peels, and husks, chopped corn cobs and stalks, peanut shells, coffee grounds, wood ashes, feathers, shredded newspaper , pet hair, spoiled hay, and small pieces of cotton, wool or linen fabrics can be turned under to improve clay soil.

Wood chips, bark and sawdust also loosen soil, but will zap nitrogen from the soil if applied too heavily. Pine needles are not recommended unless lime is also added to counteract the acid conditions produced as conifers decompose.

Long-term soil conditioning

Also leave a heavy layer of mulch over the garden in winter to protect it from heavy rainfall that pounds the soil. Never leave soil bare for more than a few days.

To amend clay soil with sand

To add amendments before planting

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Do You Have Heavy Clay Or Too Much Organic Matter

Heavy clay soils are known to have drainage problems and the water may pool up and result in a very squishy or spongy part of the lawn. Soils that are rich with organic materials will retain lots of water and can lead to an incredibly soft ground when it is full of moisture. While a lawn and garden professional may have you take a soil test and apply amendments to the soil that is often best left to professionals.

You may read online that people will recommend adding sand to the lawn to assist in the drainage of the soil when they have too much organic matter. The sand will quickly improve the drainage of the soil, however this can be a labor intensive project and will need to have you lay new sod or overseed grass seed to bring your grass back after rototilling in sand to the soil. However, do not just run out and get sand for a squishy or spongy location as you need to be careful when adding sand. Add it to the wrong type of clay soil and it will result in turning your soil into concrete making the ground even more compacted than it already is.

Improving Clay Soil Under A Lawn

Clay soils can create problems in lawns. They are dense and compacted and have poor drainage. They stay soggy when wet, and turn rock hard when they dry out in the summer. When soils are this “tight”, necessary air, water and nutrients can not move through them. Roots are stunted and the grass is stressed, weakened, and more prone to disease, insects and even weeds.

Most experienced gardeners know that the best way to improve clay conditions in garden beds is to till or mix in lots of organic matter such as compost, peat moss, leaves, etc… This process can immediately improve soil aeration and drainage, and will increase the beneficial soil microbes that break down the organic matter and turn it into humus. With humus you end up with an improved and more granulated soil structure. *

But how do you improve clay soil that already has a lawn growing in it? There is no way to till in organic matter down deep into and below the root zone without tilling up the lawn. The standard advice is to “top dress“the lawn with compost, leave the clippings, fertilize organically and wait… and wait… and wait for all of that organic matter to eventually decompose and improve the soil. But the denser the clay, the longer it will take for this to occur often many years.

A Faster Solution

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Gypsum Enhances Your Soil And Delivers Extra Benefits To Your Garden

Improving soil structure and relieving compaction aren’t the only ways that gypsum benefits your lawn and garden. Gypsum adds calcium and sulfuressential plant nutrientsto your soil. While lime adds calcium and makes soil less acidic, gypsum adds calcium without affecting your soil pH.

Adding gypsum to vegetable gardens helps prevent calcium deficiency, a primary cause of blossom end rot disease. This common disease can undermine your harvest of garden favorites such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and melons. Adding gypsum at planting time keeps calcium plentiful, so fruit can ripen without end rot. The calcium in gypsum helps your strawberry patch reach its juicy potential, too.

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. 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 type.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions.

Pennington with design is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.

Fast Acting is a trademark of Encap, LLC.

How To Fix Compacted Soil Lawn

How To Fix Clay Soil – Soften and Amend Hard Clay Soil

If you live in a place with compacted soil, lawns can be difficult to maintain. Lawn care experts recommend aeration as the best way to deal with this issue.

But how do you know if your lawn needs it? And what do you need to do after you aerate? how to fix compacted soil lawn

So here is a quick guide of what you should do when your soil gets compacted.

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What If I Dont Have Enough Clay

The opposite of clay soil is sandy soil. Its lighter in color than clay soil, will be difficult to roll into a ball, and wont form a ribbon.

Sandy soil presents a completely different problem than clay soil. Because its particles are so big and have such large spaces between them, it doesnt hold on to water or nutrients long enough for plants to absorb them.

Although the problem is different, the solution is the same. Adding several inches worth of organic matter such as compost and tilling it in as deeply as possible will form manageable clumps in your soil and leave a healthy amount of space between them.

Soil Amendments Such As Organic Matter And Gypsum Improve Heavy Clay And Relieve Compaction

Amending your soil properly can overcome heavy, compacted clay and get it back on track for healthy lawn and garden growth. Adding materials such as organic compost, pine bark, composted leaves and gypsum to heavy clay can improve its structure and help eliminate drainage and compaction problems. Avoid adding sand or peat moss to clay they can make those problems worse.1

Your soil test or extension agent can help you determine the right amount of organic matter for your soil. As a general rule, when possible, add a layer of 3 to 6 inches of organic matter on your soil before planting, and work it down into the top 10 to 12 incheswhere most roots grow. In following years, build on your efforts by adding 1 to 3 inches of organic mulch as a topdressing each year.1 As it decomposes, it continues to gradually improve clay soil.

Gypsum is easily applied to the soil surface with a regular lawn spreader. It’s an ideal amendment for improving soil structure and relieving compaction in existing lawns and gardens. Lilly Miller Garden Gypsum starts working immediately starts working immediately to help loosen compacted clay soil, increase water penetration and improve drainage, correcting soil conditions to allow for better plant root growth.

Gypsum enhances soil without affecting soil pH and provides calcium to prevent blossom end rot disease.

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How Do You Condition Clay Soil

Depending on whether your property already has grass established, or you desire to do some seeding and put down turf is the determining factor of how to condition clay soil. First, you will want to do a soil test to check the moisture, pH levels, and overall condition of your soil. Second, you will want to choose a liquid or solid mixture to dress and feed the land. Finally, you will want to overseed your lawn during the fall, regularly add mulch throughout the year, and water infrequently to transform your yard.

If you have grass on your lawn but clay soil underneath, you will need to do the following. Perform a top dressing of the lawn once or twice a year. Aerate the ground before placing a layer of organic material 1/4 to 1/2 inch over your grass. It is essential to ensure the organic material reaches the top layer of the soil, and you can use a rake to stimulate the lawn. If you core the grass via aeration, the organic material can fill in the gaps to better condition the clay soil.

Soil Types And Improving Them

Improve Your Clay Soil Lawn

The three main soil types are sandy, loam and clay, with many soils fitting in between these three, a sandy loam or clay loam to give a couple of examples. For general gardening and lawn purposes you cant beat a loam soil, its got all the good gear and the right structure. If you are lucky enough to have such a soil you wont have to do much soil improvement work at all, perhaps just a touch of fluffing here and there, and fine tuning of the levels. By now you should have a good idea of the type of soil you have. Ideally you need around 150mm of good soil for a successful lawn, at a stretch you might get away with 100mm, but getting away with it is one thing, a good lawn is another, so in some cases you will need to bring in some new soil.

Turf underlay soil mixes are specialist soils sold at good landscape suppliers and some nurseries, containing around 80% sand, and 20% black soil. They provide good drainage from the sand and some nutrients and water holding capacity from the soil. At the same time, they are easy to spread and so perfect for fine tuning the levels before laying the turf. Even if you have a good soil, a thin layer of turf underlay really helps to get everything spot on. If your soil is pretty ordinary and/or you need to build up your levels, then this is the soil mix to order. River sand is also excellent for levelling and turfing over.

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Thoughts On Working And Turning The Soil Vs Leaving It Undisturbed

There is a new trend in agriculture and gardening called no-till. Its a re-discovered ancient trend thats finding new popularity in the gardening world. It is how Mother Nature has always taken care of her gardens. No-till is basically growing crops or plants year to year without disturbing the soil through tilling.

There are pros, and cons, to both tilling, and not tilling your soil.

Tilling or working the soil will enable you to get a large quantity of organic matter deeper into the soil. If you are using an amendment like RestoreClay or Liquid Humate the worked earth will allow deeper penetration of the liquid amendments allowing them to work on deeper depths of the soil.

A healthy soil structure can be delicate and repeated turning of the soil can disrupt these processes. Managing your garden by no till will protect the improved soil structure. If you have an area that is planted like a lawn tilling the soil is not an option. One of the major benefits of using liquid amendments is that they can also be applied to areas that cannot be tilled.

If you have heavy clay soil a combination of both practices will likely give you the best results. The first season till in a few inches of compost to get a large quantity of organic matter into the soil. After you have the first applications of compost you should be able to continue the humus building processes by covering the soil with organic matter.

What Can I Do About My Clay Soil If I Already Have An Established Lawn

If there is grass already growing on your lawn, but you have clay soil, dont worry. You can transform your clay soil by aerating your lawn to allow for increased oxygen and encourage the absorption of fertilizers. You might not be able to entirely till the land and turn it over to introduce beneficial elements to the earth, but you can take advantage of specific cycles for your lawn.

When its time to seed your lawn, you can add fertilizer, overseed, and aerate the lawn to encourage stronger root growth. Add mulch in the wintertime to help establish your soil, and regularly add organic compost to enrich the soil. Apply products that help break up compact soil that prevent nutrients and minerals from reaching the root systems of your grass and make sure the pH level is neither too acidic or alkaline.

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Benefits Of Recycling Clippings To Your Lawn

  • Regular mowing will considerably decrease the need to collect clippings. For this reason, do not cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time.
  • Adding organic matter made of grass clippings will help you improve your heavy clay or sandy soil, especially if it is low in organic matter.
  • Grass clippings are a valuable source of vitamins and minerals, and you will need less nitrogen fertilizer if you leave the clippings on the lawn.

Why Spongy Thatch Filled Lawns Is A Bad Thing

DIY How to fix compact clay soil, shallow roots, dog urine spots and dead grass. This is my lawn

Thatch Layers Cause That Soft Spongy Feeling In The Lawn

While it may feel nice to have a spongy or squishy lawn for walking on with bare feet, it will quickly result in many negatives to your lawn due to the limited ability of the grass to get the water, fertilizer, and exchange of oxygen in the soil that is needed for a healthy lawn.

If you have not incorporated dethatching into your annual grass management strategy than now is the time to get caught up on dethatching and all the benefits that it provides your lawn.

Heres an article published on this site about getting the timing right for lawn thatch removal in the Spring.

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