Recommended Reading: Improve Clay Soil for New Or Existing Lawns. Topdressing is the process of applying organic matter to your existing lawn. Grass clippings are a great mulch option with some conditions: Sand is not the best option for topdressing your lawn. Organic matter is a much used term referring to a wide range of invaluable materials for feeding plants, improving soil and as mulch. How To Improve Clay Soil. How to Improve Clay Soil for Existing Lawns? Soils come in all different shapes and sizes but there are 3 main textures: Sand, Silt, and Clay. But like any good thing, too much clay causes problems. It creates stress on the roots of the grass, making them weak and more prone to weeds, insects, and disease. Topdressing is generally performed once or maybe twice a year in some cases. How to Improve a Clay Soil Lawn Step 1. It can be anything that has not been treated with toxic compounds or chemicals, including lawn cuttings, rotted manure, or compost from your heap. It should only be used to fix heavy thatch build-up, cover exposed tree roots or level low areas. After the ground thaws, you should start aeration. These products need about two to three years for results to show. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural lawn fertilizers that we can select from. Gypsum is a soft white-grey mineral known as a ‘clay breaker’ because it helps to improve the physical condition of heavy clay soils. However, there is always a solution to address the soil quality. It helps to improve lawn drainage and water absorption. The result is a sparse lawn with poor drainage. Liquid soil conditioners also help to loosen the soil. The organic matter will decompose and lead to the improvement of the soil. You can overcome compacted clay soil and get it back on track for normal garden and lawn growth by improving it with proper materials. Then pour in topsoil with added grit if you prefer. Clay Soil Amendments for the Lawn Clay soil is one of the … These techniques done consistently will improve your lawn soil over time. To do so, you should brush it with the backside of your garden rake. Don’t walk on your soil. There is a good chance that if you look after your lawn and take some of the extra measures above you will be able to grow a thriving lush green lawn.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'greenthumbplanet_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',117,'0','0'])); If you live in an area that suffers drought then clay soil can actually be a good thing as water will not drain away so quickly. To begin with, compact soil is often too tight for roots to penetrate. They will filter down and decompose quickly. If you cut the grass at three or more inches, you can apply up to one inch of organic matter. Every 17 cubic feet (or 1 yard) of this mixture is enough for 600 square feet of area. But, with a little know-how, you can improve the soil’s condition and in time, grow a thick, green, and healthy lawn. If your grass is suffering and you think this is a result of clay soil don’t panic but do follow some of the ideas above that will help transform your clay soil into an ideal place to grow grass. Earthworms will eat the mulch and fertilize the soil simultaneously. Aeration increases the uptake of minerals and vitamins. Avoid excess mowing of the lawn, especially when the ground is wet. Depending on the region you live in, you may need to topdress your grass once or twice a year. Waterlogging is more likely to be a problem on compacted and clay soils. These results in stunted growth of roots, and the grasses on the lawns become disease-prone, weak, and weeds develop more quickly. Clay soils can be a big problem if that’s what you have under your lawn. In general, the lawn fertilizers have high ratios of nitrogen. The organic matter will decompose and lead to the improvement of the soil. and take the precautions, you will get a healthy and beautiful lawn in your house. 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. Check out my article on the best lawn edgers on the market. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission without costing you anything extra. At the opposite end of the scale from sandy soil are clay soils. This will decompose and provide nutrients to the soil. You can use a rain gauge to measure the water levels. Topdressing is generally performed once or maybe twice a year in some cases. No comments. Although topdressing is highly beneficial, it usually takes up to five years before the soil’s organic matter reaches the needed level. Waterlogging is more likely to be a problem on compacted and clay soils. How gypsum helps improve soil structure. Employ the power of roots to break up heavy soils and add organic matter. Hence if you have clay soil in your lawn, you must improve its quality so that the lawn is healthy. This air is near the top of the soil and is not present beyond the roots. I will take a quick look at each of these types of soil. It is as simple as that. Different Types Of Soil And How To Improve Them, use a mulching mower to make sure small clippings are created, Use compost or any high organic content soil. You may want to core aerate your lawn before topdressing. Clay soil, due to its dense texture, drains very slowly and saturates easily. Leave leaf and grass from the lawnmower on the lawn. Benefits Of Recycling Clippings To Your Lawn. Written by Garrett Anderson. Aerate your lawn when the soil is moist. Aerate your lawn to help improve drainage and improve the soil structure. Clay soil is particularly... Add Organic Material. One must ensure that the mixture goes through the soil and allow the existing grasses to stick up through this mixture. 1) Cover the lawn with about eight inches of organic matter. Breaking down hard soil will improve its structure, making planting and digging easier. Purchase a fertilizer which will suit the soil type, grass type, and time of the year when you will be using it. However, you can turn it into good soil and build a lush, green lawn on it using a few tips described above. How to improve clay soil Dig over your soil in autumn. Nevertheless, it is usually a temporary effect. 7 Inspired Ways To Cut Grass Without A Lawn Mower? To determine … “Spread anywhere from a 1- to 4-inch layer of organic matter on the soil and work it into the top 6-10 inches,” Schutter said. Feeding the grass is the next step. However, it is worth noting that patches of dead grass where the soil proves very difficult to re-wet can be caused by a fungal problem: dry patch . However, even clay soils have several benefits. It is possible, but there is some hard work and expense involved. Your email address will not be published. If you have clay soil in your lawn, it is very easy to give up on the clay soil and let the weeds and diseases do their job. Putting mulch around grass, trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers may help to maintain the soil temperature, conserve water, and reduce weeds. The most important factor in making your soil fertile is using a lot of organic matter and mixing it with the top layer of the clay soil. Hence clay soils are heavy and wet. What Is The Best Season To Dig Clay Soil? Breaking down clay soil will take a lot of digging, but it will make the soil more workable and suitable for growing grass and other plants. Shallow grass is a common problem if you have clay soil. Your grass depends on its roots for water and mineral nutrients. This is applied during the growing season. You may want to add organic matter as this will add some extra nutrients to your soil and that is never a bad thing. Depending on the mowed height of the grass, you may need to cover your grass with a thin layer (usually 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick) of organic matter. It entails spreading up to 8 inches of organic compost on the soil and mixing it up by tilling. Learn how to improve clay soil for lawns and maintain it like a boss. 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. Want to know how to improve clay soil and what is the best clay soil treatment in the garden? Next, let the organic matter fill created holes. Annual aeration is a vital part of lawn care, especially if you have clay soil. 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. One can rent a rear-tine and a self-propelled roto-tiller to enable you to break the surface of the ground and go to the place where the clay soil level ends. Do not water frequently. Adding organic material to your clay soil will go a long way towards improving … Apply top-down soil amendments in layers only 2 or 3 inches deep to allow rain to percolate through. Gypsum can improve soil texture and fertility in heavy clay, and can help remove salt from coastal and arid soils. You can buy bags of the mixture, or you can order a truckload and then spread it on the lawn. Gypsum also adds sulfur and calcium, which are essential plant nutrients, to your clay soil. Many lawns are over clay soil. Do walk over it to even it out so it is reasonably flat. Changing the size of the soil particles is not really a practical option but you can stimulate a process called Flocculation. This website is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'greenthumbplanet_com-large-leaderboard-1','ezslot_5',120,'0','0']));report this ad. Refer to the soil test report for specifics on nutrient ratios. Many lawns are over clay soil. Late spring and early summer are the best time of year to start working on improving your clay soil. Improving the soil surrounding the planting hole provides a good base for new root growth in areas where most new roots will develop. Hello, my name is Samantha Bray and this is my blog. The best way to improve the quality is by top dressing the lawn with compost and fertilizing it organically. If the soil in your lawn clumps together and your grass is brown and patchy, you likely have clay soil. Aerate your lawn using a punch-core aerator. Do this when temperatures rise and no more heavy down-pours. Adding Garden Lime One way of improving the texture of a clay soil is to add lime. When roots can no longer penetrate, your grass will stop growing, and new blades of grass will stop replacing older, dead blades. When you get the results, start amending the soil. How Often To Topdress A Clay Lawn To See Results? Pennington fast acting Lime - for lawns below a 6 on PH (east coast / parts of midwest). When you have finished improving your soil, the garden bed may become a few inches higher, but it will settle down over time. However, you should not do that, as adding sand to such soil often creates a cement-like effect, instead of loosening it up. Earthworms will enhance and speed up the soil improvement … Lawns should be aerated every 2-3 years, and if yours is due, start with a nice core aeration. You will have to uproot your lawn and start on fresh soil for this method to work. Categories: Blog. This will also lead to lawn friendly earthworms coming to the lawn. The other textural classifications generally indicate soils with more than 40% clay. For compacted soil, aeration must be done twice annually. 2) You can carry out this step over several days, as it is the most difficult part of the treatment process. So if you can make the soil particles in a clay soil larger you improve drainage and the texture. If you are lucky enough to have a loamy mix of soil under your lawn there isn’t really anything you have to do to improve it. The process of adding a thin layer of soil on top of your lawn is a great way to improve it without disturbing existing grass. When you have such tight soils, the required amount of air, water, and nutrients cannot pass through them easily. Required fields are marked *, Pro Garden Reviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. These hold water and nutrients very well but don’t drain as well as sandy soils, especially if compacted, a common situation for lawns with a clay soil base. Lawns can become waterlogged if water sits on the surface and drains slowly. Dig the prepared organic matter into the top layer of your clay soil, but be careful not to compact it. Step 2. One must fertilize twice annually. This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com Amazon.ca & Amazon.co.uk as an Amazon Associate this site earns from qualifying purchases. You can add gypsum, composted leaves, pine bark, or organic compost to your clay soil to eliminate compaction and drainage problems and to improve its structure. Step 5: Creating a proper drainage system. I should also note that your soil will be a combination of these, it’s pretty rare to have a 100% clay, sand or silt soil. Aerate. As a result of that, they become very soggy when they are wet. However, it can become like concrete during periods of intense drought. Organic matter … How to Improve a Clay Soil Lawn. Clay soils are best improved with the addition of compost and other organic materials only. You need to keep in mind these factors when choosing the Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), and Phosphorus (P) ratios in the fertilizer. A certain amount of clay in soil is not a bad thing. How to improve clay soil under your lawn. Adding organic matter and gypsum and then cultivating to mix these through the soil will work wonders, opening up the soil’s structure, improving the drainage and oxygen levels, and making the nutrients more available. How To Easily Grow A Dwarf Lemon Tree Indoors, Complete Growing Guides, Grow Fruit Indoors, 21 Best Fertilizers For Fruit Trees In Containers, Braided Money Bonsai Tree For Sale + Care Guide [Good Luck Tree]. Clay soil is defined as soil that comprised of very fine mineral particles and not much organic material. They can also be prone to weeds, pests, diseases and moss, and be constantly ugly and unsightly. Topdressing An Existing Clay Lawn Is Essential. How To Improve Clay Soil For Lawns - Simple Tips. In a nutshell, you have to correct your soil's pH, add organic material and overseed. While clay is an important part of healthy soil, too much can ruin soil. By measuring the amount of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, this very first step helps to determine the nutrients, pH, and fertility that are lacking in the clay soil. Aerate your lawn on a regular basis if you have clay soil in an area that gets substantial rainfall as this will. In layman’s terms, if you look at compacted soils under a microscope they look like a jar full of sand. You should topdress your lawn every year because this process can take years to actually improve the soil under your lawn. The report you get back will offer suggestions for how to improve the garden further. Clay soil needs regular aeration to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it. Once you're sure that your soil is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose. 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 … It converts complex matter such as compost, thatch and fertilizer into its base components. Organic matter is sometimes referred to as 'soil improver' or 'soil conditioner' and soil organic matter as 'humus'. This ensures that the seed falls close to the soil. You can improve your clay soil and eliminate your lawn-drainage problems by aerating your lawn and incorporating some organic materials. If it’s too … The primary benefit of aerating compacted soil are as follows: Check out my article on the best string trimmers for the money. To work clay soils successfully, the moisture content has to be right. Though the top 4-5 inches eventually got pretty good, the clay underneath remained gray and sticky. Clay soils are problematic in lawns. SOIL TYPES AND IMPROVING THEM. They cannot replace organic mulching. Do walk over it to even it out so it is reasonably flat. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'greenthumbplanet_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_6',125,'0','0']));Be aware that the grass may suffer when you cover the lawn with compost since it prevents the photosynthesis process. Transforming your lawn that grows on clay soil is not an overnight thing and it can take many years of consistent work by adding organic material to your lawn every year and you should see gradual improvement over time. You should top-dress the lawns in … To improve clay soil for lawns, you will need to apply organic matter by a process called topdressing. Allow the frosts and wintry weather to do this instead: it will give you a finer tilth.  Grass clippings are an essential part of lawn care. Compost is the best soil amendment and should be the primary focus in improving clay soil. It … We did a post on how to use this method to grow a healthy lawn on clay soil for more details on how to enrich and improve the drainage of your clay soil yard. Lawns can become waterlogged if water sits on the surface and drains slowly. Step 4 : Only if you have neglected the lawn for some time. Check out my article on fun solar lawn decoration ideas. Moreover, nutrients, air, and water cannot easily move through clay soils. It will get the amendment down deep into the clay soil. Tiller; Soil test kit (find at home improvement stores or garden centers) Aerators; Top-dress; Grass seeds; Water; How-to 1. Therefore having a good drainage system helps to transfer the water from the lawn to another area with the help of pipes. Growing a Beautiful Lawn on a Clay Soil Published: 30 April 2017. Test the soil. Another common mistake that many gardeners make is applying sand too heavily, which leads to the death of grass. Mulching the lawn is very important. Your email address will not be published. Aerating the soil is the next step. Clay soil is not the best option for gardeners. The conditioners for clay soil usually consist of humic acid, gypsum, and catalytic enzymes. Author: Linda Holliday Soil consists of three main parts – clay, sand and silt – and about a billion microorganisms per tablespoon that secrete enzymes or acids that dissolve organic matter. Improve the clay and you will improve the lawn. A lawn with clay soil is heavy and compact when it's wet. Step 3. For correct topdressing you apply a thin layer of organic matter over your grass. Healthy, well-maintained clay soil means less stress on your garden or lawn and less work for you. Don't know what the answer is to our clay soil (landlords prob) but I still enjoy going out there, with my wellies on and have a good walk around. 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. Besides, many homeowners also make the mistake of using sand to fix clay soil. You can instead lay stepping stones or create sidewalks or make a path so that you can walk without stepping on the soil. After a season or so, it's a good idea to collect a soil sample and have it tested to see if you have any nutrient deficiencies or pH issues. The first precaution you will need to take is to baby your clay soil. For clay soil, the formula is 1 part of peat + 2 parts of loam + 4 parts of sand. Learn this technique in five easy steps. How to Improve Heavy Clay Soil Clay soil can provide an excellent foundation for healthy plant growth. Clay holds water and nutrients better than other soil types, so it does not require frequent fertilizing and watering. Using grass clippings as mulch may harm your lawn if you have recently treated it with the herbicide for broadleaf weeds such as dandelions. Ask us about it. Still, it must be relatively dry since digging or walking on wet clay may make it compacted and puddled. Use A Fertilizer That Feeds The Soil As Well As The Grass. Compacted soil affects lawns in a variety of ways. X Research source Not only will compost introduce vital nutrients to the soil to feed your plants, the decaying plant matter will also help break up the clay particulate surrounding them. For some people, having a thick, green lawn is something … 3) Add some extra inches of organic matter each year. This website also participates in the ShareASale, Clickbank & Cj affiliate programs, and other sites. Should You Panic Because Of Clay Soil Under Your Lawn? After each major addition of organic matter, the nitrogen in the soil will drop, so you may need to supplement with fertilizer on established lawns. It is heavy and compacts when wet, preventing nutrients and air from getting to the roots. You will get a healthy lawn that is easy to maintain! Clay soil improvement is as easy as digging organic material into the soil once a year, in either spring or fall, she said. I have enjoyed gardening ever since i was a little kid 20+ years ago so i decided to make this blog out of my hobby, please have a browse and enjoy my work. 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 particles to flocculate (clump together). Homeowners worry that their lawn grass won’t grow well in clay soil. Consult the label of the herbicide product you use to treat your lawn for any concerns related to using grass clippings as mulch. Working in heavy clay soil can be a pain in the back. The reason why it will take a long time is that clay soil has about 5 percent air in it. In this section, we will discuss the proper method of how you can improve the clay soil in your lawn. 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