Has anyone had personal success growing on nasty clay? 10 plants for clay soil: The flower clusters hang from the branches from early summer through to autumn, claret red bracts interspersed with small white flowers. Don't use fill dirt. The grass has to be actively growing. Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. When you do, take care of it. Topdressing should give your lawn all of the extra nutrients it needs. To dethatch a lawn you're going to keep, go over your working area twice with a good thatch rake or powered dethatcher. I would sure appreciate any input you may have. At BestOfMowers.com, we publish accurate reviews about various mowers and other lawn equipment, as well as informative guides relating to lawn care. Higher numbers are alkaline. I'm on several acres and have dreams of mass plantings of the graceful beauties. What the soil needs is aeration and an application of gypsum to break up the clay. That's what you have now. As the years go on, your good layer of rich topsoil will get thicker and thicker. It doesn't let water drain easily, and it bakes solid when dry. However, deeper spiking is better, especially with a tool designed to leave holes 10-15cm (4-6in) deep. Let me show you how to grow grass in clay soil and grow a beautiful lawn. There is still some clay under your good top soil. Blessings - clay is very nutrient-rich soil and when plants get established, they will be better off than in most other soils. If you've been thinking about upgrading to a mulching deck, now is a good time. They will soon establish a self-sustaining population. If the ground was not levelled well, it will be hard or impossible to obtain an even grass height when mowing. Aerate in the second year and every two to three years after that. Keep in mind that the best time to topdress with organic matter is right after aeration. Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. Sprinkle the soil with water to moisten the holes. You can do the same. You don't want to mix two types of grass, but you want to make sure your lawn is tolerant of clay soil. I hope someone can give me a little hope. Spread half of your organics, work it in and repeat the process. Be sure to keep your mower blades sharp. This will vary depending on the type of grass, whether you are planting a new lawn or overseeding. Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. If you're tearing your lawn up and creating a new one, this is easy. There are two ways to go about preparing your clay soil for laying the turf. Turf costs a lot, but it's easy to ruin it. If anything, your soil may return to a more alkaline state, but it won't get as bad as it was when you started. Add a handful of powdered gypsum to the bottom of the planting hole. Here are our top plants for clay soil. In this article, we will talk about laying turf on clay soil. The first is to incorporate sand into your soil to give it drainage. Clay soil needs regular aeration to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it. Keep the grass seeds moist until they germinate, then reduce watering slowly. Rated 5 out of 5 Matthew Baller 27/10/2020 Had a 50/50 SC Red Fescue & Perennial Rye mix for my heavy-clay garden. It would be a good idea to topdress once during the first year. Clay soil is made up of tiny mineral particles with very little organic material to separate all those microscopic rocks. Do this between late spring and late summer. Managing horse pastures on cold, heavy or clay soil can prove difficult as grass growth and regrowth can be slow, particularly in early spring, due to naturally lower soil temperatures. Your good grass will grow up through it, and your weak grass will die and become compost. Adding organic matter to clay soil, including southern red clay, makes it much easier to establish turf-grass seedlings and produce a thick, healthy turf. Normally a light tilling to break up the clay, apply some topsoil and grass seed on top, rake lightly so the seed is about 1/8 inch deep into the topsoil and cover 100% with hay and keep watering until you see new grass sprouting up. Add too little, and you literally end up with brick. Scatter some straw over the entire area you are planting. If you want to use a service, simply browse online for the one that operates in your area and ask them for a quote. I worked at a couple different lawn care / landscaping companies throughout my college years, and now thanks to the internet I'm able to make a share my knowledge and advice with people about lawn care and landscaping. It swallows it up. If the topsoil was not good enough or the turf was not laid properly, the lawn can die within weeks. The ratio of inorganic material to clay, however, has to be pretty precise. Soak that good layer of mixed clay and organic matter well. I LOVE ornamental grasses but I'm cursed with heavy clay soil with the added bonus of poor drainage. There are plenty of forms of organic material you can use. Don't use wood chips either. If you have to make this choice, remember that it's better to have a lawn of uniform variety. If you seeded in spring or summer, you should see quick growth within two or three weeks. Organic matter, Mother Earth’s great equalizer. Most grass seed will grow in various soil types. Using a service will cost more, but it will help you save time, avoid the hassle, and achieve a perfect result. Undertake a soil pH test and apply dolomite lime in order to raise the pH level to 6.5. Aerate after the ground thaws, when soil is moist (not soaking) and during the growing season. I have battled clay soil and turned it into my friend. Grass grown in clay soil requires less frequent watering than lawns grown on sandy soil. The aspects that can ruin the lawn are: the topsoil was not good enough for plant growth, the turf was not laid properly, the ground was not levelled well, or the weeds were not completely eliminated. Ask your agricultural extension office for help, if you need it. This can be done by installing a drainage system and capping the area with light top soil (50mm or more), or incorporating plenty of sand into your soil (80% of the resulting soil should be sand). Clay soil is generally fertile and a wide range of plants, including roses grow well on it. You can use a plug aerator for smaller areas. Just spread it on top. Started appearing after 6 or 7 days and grew quickly. Shallow, 2-3cm (1in), pricking or slitting will help. Don't mow until your new grass is a good three inches tall. You can get a simple soil tester for about $10. You need to know how high your soil's alkalinity is before you can adjust it. The thatch that doesn't get removed along with the living grass will serve as extra organic material. Rake up the thatch, and add it to your compost pile or the organic matter you'll use to amend your clay. The optimal pH for a lawn's soil is 6.5. These grass varieties help to work out the clay-loam soil throughout the year. Manually break up the clay in the planting hole, then plant and water in well. Get a handful of soil from the ground where you want to plant the grass; Add some water to the soil, just enough to make it pliable; Knead the soil into a ball; Use your index finger and thumb to flatten the soil into a ribbon; Clay-loam soils will break up between 1 and 2 inches while heavy clay can form a ribbon longer than 2 inches This is where diligence is required in adding proper components of organic materials into the clay soil before laying the sod is ideal to get grass turf going. Gather material such as organic fertilizer, compost, lawn clippings, and leaves. With this project, it's best to get each step done right before moving on to the next. Therefore, clay soils require special consideration. 1) A variety of cool season grasses should be planted during the fall or spring. If you are rehabilitating an entire lawn, or a big chunk of one, you would be better off working the amendment in with a tiller. If you've seeded in the beginning or middle of fall, which is the recommended time for most grasses, you'll see some slow growth throughout the cooler autumn and winter months. If not, you may want to consider removing your existing grass and starting over with one of the above. Any more than a one-point drop should be done in two applications spaced three months apart. Share. Compost, topsoil and manure all make fantastic amendments for clay soil. Clay soil can make gardening tough. If your soil is alkaline, and it almost certainly is, you'll need to spread some granulated sulfur. Raised beds and french drains are not an option at this time. THIS TECHNIQUE ONLY WORKS ON SOME CLAY SOILS - TO FIND OUT IF THIS WILL WORK FOR YOU, PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING TEST: When you do mow, let your clippings fall where they may. The vigorous shrub Leycesteria formosa grows just about anywhere and succeeds well on clay, even on damp sites. The tall arching, hollow stems are sea-green. Here is a list of grasses that grow well in clay: If your lawn currently consists of one of these, get the same kind of seed. Water at least once daily, preferably around dawn, for the first week. It can be impossible to dig, and, without some amendments, may not allow us to plant. Another thing is that it's much easier to get the right ratio of organics to clay. Clay soil is made up of tons of small particles that stick together, clinging to moisture. Tips for better growth. It’s prone to waterlogging in winter and cracking in summer, but it’s also nutritious and moisture retentive. They don't break up the soil enough, and a compound in decomposing wood locks nitrogen in the soil. You shouldn't notice any thatch for at least a few years. Dont use chemical fertilizers unless you see a serious deficiency of some nutrient. Clay soils are heavy and sticky when wet, and lumpy and hard when dry. Another dose of granulated sulfur will being the pH back to where it needs to be. Compost or peat moss improve the texture of clay soil, allowing water to drain quickly and creating air spaces that help grass roots breathe and grow. Pricking or slitting the surface can improve a waterlogged lawn. You'll plant seed later to make your lawn thick and green. This will get your two soil types mixed up better. I highly recommend using organic matter instead. May 27, 2013 - Heavy clay, red or otherwise, is inhospitable to most plant life, but there are things that you can do to make sure that your property has a healthy green lawn. The required work can be performed by a homeowner or turf laying service. First, determine what type or grass your lawn is made of. The best grass for clay soil is generally a grass with a robust root system that grows deep. However, clay soil is perhaps the most difficult to work with. That's because it is extremely heavy and thick. More is better. To prepare clay soil for grass, incorporate organic material into the soil. This blend is based on Meadow Fescue and Timothy which were traditionally used for grass production on cold, wet ground in areas such as West Wales. The grass' roots will work to break up and loosen the clay soil below. Lawn - shouldn't be a problem at all, grass will grow on all kinds of soils and the top-soil over clay means that it's far less likely to ever dry out and get scorched. Numerous providers are offering these services throughout the country, so you are likely to be quoted a wide range of prices to choose from. What happens is the grass will grow roots into the new organic material that works its way to the top of the soil. Be sure to let the provider know that you require laying turf on clay, so they include additional services into the quote. If your lawn is on clay soil or it tends to get badly waterlogged in winter, it needs annual aerating. Once you're sure that your soil is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose. It’s far better to grow plants that thrive in clay soil and the good news is that there are some great plants to choose from. They also tend to hold less water, so plants need watering sooner. Nutrient-poor soil causes grass lawn problems like brown spots, weeds (dandelions like poor soil), grass disease, Leather jackets and the inevitable bare patches. Is that the only solution? It is organic, of course, but it's too thick to leave laying on your lawn. It's almost impossible to overdo it. 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. You want to slice them cleanly with the blade. Adding sand to your clay soil can be time consuming and costly. You just stick it in the ground in several spots throughout your lawn and average the pH readings. As your lawn fills in, there will be many tender young grass shoots trying to fill in any bare spots. Short grass will allow you to check whether there are any weeds in the layer. Super green grass seed ideal for clay soils Quick to establish and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a question. Improve the clay and you will improve the … It takes too long to biodegrade above ground. There's no reason to give up on your garden just because of a little stubborn dirt, though. Hi, I'm Ed, and I've been doing lawn work since my mid teen years, picking up jobs here and there mowing and helping with basic landscaping projects. [, Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money In 2019, Best Riding Lawn Mowers (Updated Oct 2019) With Reviews And Buying Guide, Best Gas Weed Eaters: Our Picks And Buyer’s Guide, Best Weed Wackers For Every Need (Buying Guide Included), Top 7 Electric Weed Eaters Reviewed + Buyer’s Guide. After you spread your sulfur, wait eight weeks and check your pH again. Some people use sand or gypsum to break clay soil up. This will ensure that the top six inches of soil gets some moisture. Spread worms in even handfuls throughout your lawn. Broadcast your seed at the rate recommended on the bag. Facebook ... grass growing after a few weeks in Oct. Follow some basic steps to make grass grow in red clay soil and establish a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood. The mixture of clay and chalk in these soils makes them excellent vegetable growing soils, but they do not grow fruit well. Experts will tell you to dig in plenty of organic matter, which may be easier said than done. Anything lower than that is acidic. Add lime to bring the clay soil to a more neutral pH, where the grass will thrive. The biggest benefit to having clay is its capacity to hold an amazing amount of nutrients and water. Trees, shrubs (especially roses), climbers and many bulbs are easier to grow on clay soils than plants that require frequent sowing, planting or dividing; annuals or bedding plants, for example Planting woody plants on slight (25cm/10in) mounds can help avoid root damage from waterlogging Clippings don't cause thatch, but they do supply a continuing and free source of organic material for your new lawn. Follow the directions on the kit, and ship it to the state … You need enough material to add a level one-quarter to one inch on top of your clay. If you do, you need to get rid of as much of it as possible. If you've seeded in the beginning or middle of fall, which is the recommended time for most grasses, you'll see some slow growth throughout the cooler autumn and winter months. Clay soil tends to be very difficult to work with; being sticky and clumpy when wet, and hard and lumpy when dry. Get your soil tested. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. You're improving your soil, but it's still clay. If you add too much, you get inconsistent, loose soil. You can succeed with clay soil whether you're planting a new lawn or rehabilitating a long-existing one. Check with your local extension office (listed under government in the phone book) for a soil testing kit. I'll explain how to go about each task outlined below in a way that best suits your own particular situation. It doesn't, however, mean you can't grow gorgeous plants anyway. It’s dense, does not drain well—unless it’s on a slope, and then everything runs off. What’s the best grass for clay soil? This can cause root burn. It’s not all bad news, but you do have to outsmart it. This will bring your soil down one-half of a point. The first option is much easier, and that is why many people choose to install drainage and cap the area with quality topsoil instead of trying to improve the clay soil itself when laying turf on clay. And it's usually very alkaline. If your willing to put the work in, clay soils can actually be an awesome soil to grow plants and grass in. Growing it on a clay soil means that its even lower maintenance. So they include additional services into the new organic material and overseed latest information on.! Years after that it ’ s not all bad news, but it will help you save time break. 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