Standing water, consistently soggy soil and bad odors are some characteristics typical of poorly drained yards. Clay soil is a great problem for any lawn. Building raised beds, adding organic matter and growing cover crops alleviate the problem to an extent. The … Growing a good lawn on clay soil is hard. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. How To Drain Clay Soil Lawn. Heavy clay soil. I’m going give you ways how to improve drainage clay soil and ways to improve your clay soil period. 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. Openings made by aerator allow nutrients, air, and water into the soil, enhancing the grass growth. The fastest way to stop water from sitting in your yard is by building underground drainage. Soil drainage is a very important factor to consider when planting Salvia, Agastache, Lavender, Penstemon and other perennials that like "well-drained" soil. Difficulty pushing a pencil into the soil. Injecting air pockets into clay soil is essential for improving drainage, breaking up … Winter proofing your screened porch utilizes the space during the cold season. However, if you want to preserve your vegetable patch, garden trees, flowerbeds or lawn, sometimes, the only effective option is to install drainage. With French drains, you have to accurately measure the slope of the land to 1:100 because that is the correct level to allow water to drain away. Liquid vs granular fertilizer: Which is better. Before digging, have area checked and marked for underground utilities. This is as simple as digging a couple of ditches, filling them with gravel and covering them over with regular soil. Aerating the lawn will help to improve drainage and will add air into the soil which will improve the conditions for the grass roots to live in. Aeration allows water to drain through compacted topsoil, which is the leading cause of water retention in an otherwise well-graded lawn. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Additionally, the yard may be badly shaped, providing nowhere for runoff to exit the property. Compaction will lead to poor drainage and the dreaded clods that gum up tillers and make working clay soil such a pain. Three-fourths-minus gravel includes gravel pieces of different sizes and shapes, designed to lock together so they aren't washed away. But if water does eventually drain from your yard, the problem may not be as bad as you think. These cookies do not store any personal information. Thatch thicker than one-half inch. Adding plenty of organic matter also helps with drainage by improving soil structure and water infiltration. Heavy, ill-drained soils that are rich in clay do not allow water to drain away. Get the water out of the pipe. Don’t build beds that are too wide to reach into the middle comfortably. Improving your lawn’s drainage will not only get rid of those nasty water puddles after rain or irrigation but also make your grass thrive without forcing you to apply lime more often. Till the soil. It helps improve drainage in your lawn clay, provides trace elements, encourages deeper rooting, frees up nutrients and water in the root zone and helps move organic matter deeper into the soil. Pour water into the hole until it fills to the brim. If water remains in the hole after 3 hours, wait another 9 hours and check the hole again. Boggy lawns are a pretty common problem for homeowners in Auckland, where many areas have clay soils. While winterizing your house during the fall, it is best to consider doing the same for the porch. Apply gypsum to your soil when the surface has dried out somewhat and is workable with a garden fork. Till the soil. You will have to uproot your lawn and start on fresh soil for this method to work. Spread a layer of compost, leaf mold, or aged manure 3 to 4 inches deep over your planting beds in fall or spring, and dig the organic matter in to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. As a matter of fact, until your clay soil is corrected, avoid overworking your soil with excessive tilling. Get the water through the pipe, 3. Supplement gypsum applications with other methods of cultural management to improve drainage in clay soil. Check with your local government office about relevant regulations before building a drainage pipe that discharges into a storm drain or the street. Overcoming the Difficulties of Planting in Clay Soil Bring in a new layer of topsoil if your plants are … For isolated problem spots, break up clay with a shovel or heavy garden rake. Kensington84 Posts: 16. Yet a heavy clay soil isn’t all bad news. Install a Drainage System. To get the water into the pipe, you need to identify where the water is coming from. Use a line and a builder’s level to discover the lowest and highest spots, and mark the places where the water flows and where puddles and pools appear. Adding organic compost is a great way to improve both drainage and your soil’s nutrient levels. Calandiva (Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Calandiva) is a succulent native to Madagascar. Green's work appears in SFGate, Mom.me, The Pink Plumber and many home services blogs . We discussed them in our growing a healthy tuff on clay post. It entails spreading up to 8 inches of organic compost on the soil and mixing it up by tilling. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. You can check it out for further insight. The best way to handle improvement of clay soil is to begin amending soil by actually digging organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil, thus breaking up the heavy clay layers and providing air space in the soil to allow plants to breathe and water to drain. Rainfall and irrigation gradually wash gypsum out of soil, so the effects are temporary. The side drains … 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. You can check it out for further insight. It provides more play... Yard work is meant to be fun. University of California Vegetable Research and Information Center: Managing Clay Soils in the Home Garden. Examining your soil is informative. Pour more gravel over the pipe, and, finally, fill in the rest of the trench with the excavated soil. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Follow the recommendations for soil supplements given in the test results to improve the condition of your soil and the health of your yard over time. The quickest solution for muddy yards is to use an aeration tool to poke holes into the surface of the lawn. How to improve clay soils. It has also been shown to help in nutrient uptake, but varies with different plants. By Doni Anto | September 8, 2019. This chemical compound disperses the high levels of sodium present in some clay soils, which makes the soil more permeable to water. A French drain is a gravel-filled underground tunnel that contains a perforated pipe. The soil is dense, has little organic matter and is the pH is almost always terrible for your lawn. You can aerate the lawn by either spiking the lawn with a garden fork or aerator shoes, or by using a hollow tine aerator. The yards of new construction homes sometimes contain very little topsoil to absorb rainwater, and water pools on the subsoil. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. A highly neglected lawn may need a total lawn overhaul. Needless to say, your lawn will look shabby during the renovation and this process will take longer to improve your clay lawn. Vehicles driving or parking on lawn or heavy play use. Aerate To Improve Drainage Annual aeration is a vital part of lawn care, especially if you have clay soil. Aerate Clay Soil. Pour water into the hole until it fills to the brim. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. A year and a half ago I dug up 12 inches of heavy clay soil (using a pick and mattock, as it was that hard). Alternatively, spread a mulch of wood chips, sawdust or bark chippings on the soil surface, and they will eventually disappear into the soil naturally. Another way to improve soil drainage is to install a drainage system. Improve the clay and you will improve the lawn… These new yards may also be compacted due to the movement of heavy construction equipment. Gypsum is another name for calcium sulfate, a substance that’s sometimes recommended as a soil amendment for clay soils. A soil test at your local university agricultural extension office can tell you the detailed composition of your soil as well as its nutrient content. More often there is no easy way to shed excess water. It grew well. Install an inlet catch basin at the center of the lowest point and attach it to a smooth drainpipe that runs all the way to the outlet before filling in the trench with soil. Gypsum will help to separate the clay granules, allowing water to drain through the clay soil better. It can be grueling and stressful if you don't have the right skills. This will take time and effort but will slowly improve drainage. Where there is somewhere for water to go (a ditch, drain or soakaway, for example), drainage systems can be installed. Improves water retention Lowers pH (slightly) Best For These Soil Types: Clay soil (to improve drainage) Sandy soil (to improve water retention) Clay soil applications: Can be used to improve both bare soil and existing lawns. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Dig a trench 18 inches deep, and fill the bottom 6 inches with gravel. Spread 1 pound of gypsum per 5 square feet and lightly mix it into the top 2 or 3 inches of soil. Remove these with a proprietary moss killer to allow the lawn to thrive; Drainage. Pennington fast acting Lime - for lawns below a 6 on PH (east coast / parts of midwest). As such, they tend to get waterlogged easily in a flash rain, resulting in a soggy lawn. Do not use sand to blend into clay soil as an amendment. Now I know that information on this topic is controversial. Spread gypsum on your lawn twice per year, using one standard bag per 1,000 square feet of lawn. An underground drainage pipe effectively transfers water from the lowest point of your yard to an outlet. Not all poor drainage in yards is due to heavy clay soil. A highly neglected lawn may need a total lawn overhaul. Growing in raised beds is sometimes the simplest solution. Mark the side trenches to connect to the main drain, forming a herringbone pattern. A heavy clay soil feels smooth and sticky and is easy to mold. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. 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. If you have a flat lawn and the water is coming from rain, as opposed to a hillside slope, then it is very difficult to drain because the water will not move very quickly … Till your clay soil with a rototiller or pitchfork to loosen up the hard clumps when planting a garden or flower bed in your lawn. Cover a perforated pipe with a specialized fabric sock to prevent dirt from clogging it, and lay the pipe on the gravel. Check this too: Liquid vs granular fertilizer: Which is better? If you have an heavy clay soil yard, consider using the underground drains and adding tons of organic compost to improve the soil before you attempt growing grass on it. Dig up a handful of soil with a garden trowel and squeeze it into a ball. Yard drainage is critical to keep your home from flooding. Cover crops are plants that are grown to improve the soil condition by increasing the proportion of decaying plant material. Keep poking holes, every 4 inches if poss and then brush in some sharp sand to aid drainage. Our work is to ensure that you enjoy it to the fullest by giving you the tools and skills you need to get the job done right. 0 Comment. You can start with a French drain, one of the simplest underground drains. French drains don’t require an inlet or outlet, and they can run across any part of your yard, though it makes sense to install them at the lowest points. Aeration is a significant factor in preventing waterlogging and keeping your lawn healthy. Soil that is water-logged does not drain well and is anaerobic (oxygen deficient) resulting in drowned and rotted roots. Gray clay soil indicates poor drainage, but if the soil is red, it’s high in iron, and the drainage is good. A hole that drains within three hours is an indicator of good drainage, and if the hole drains within 3 to 9 hours, most landscape plants should grow in your yard. The individual particles that make up your clay are extremely small compared to other soil types such as sand, silt or loam. Most garden soils contain some clay, but in heavy clay soils, the particles of clay predominate, resulting in a fine-textured soil that’s sticky when wet and hard when dry. You can substitute decorative rocks for the top of the trench, if desired, but you will have to rake the rocks back into place after hard storms. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. On a day when the soil in your yard is already moist, dig a square hole, 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide, in an area where water collects. The essential element in well-drained soil is oxygen, which is just as important as water in growing healthy plants. You can also go for grasses that thrive well in clay soils. Growing cover crops helps to improve drainage in heavy clay. On the other hand, you may have been mistaken about which part of your yard is not draining well. Added tonnes of compost and manure and lay seeds. Before going to the major step of installing drainage, assess the extent of the drainage problem. 1 Thanks to the surface area of all those small particles, clay soil has a greater capacity to hold water and nutrients your lawn and garden needs. We discussed them in our growing a healthy tuff on clay post. University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Does Your Soil Need Gypsum? Construct low walls of wooden planks, bricks or stone and fill them with soil mixed with compost, or mound up the soil for your beds so that it’s several inches higher than the surrounding ground. Borage (Borago officinalis), and timothy hay (Phleum pratense), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8, are two cover crops that can be sown in fall and dug into the soil in spring. I know clay soil is considered one of the worst soils to have but there are ways to fix and correct a clay soil. In order to avoid compacting the soil, never work the soil while it is wet. Helps soil retain nutrients. Dig a trench from the lowest point in your yard to the outlet, so the trench will slope at a rate of about 1/8 inch per foot. If you are not willing to pull up your existing lawn, you can top dress with organic mulch. If your soil develops a white crust when it’s dry, it may be high in sodium. Cultural management is sometimes all that’s needed to solve a problem with clay soil drainage. Clay soils hold on to water, which fills the pore spaces between the clay particles and excludes the air that plant roots need. On a day when the soil in your yard is already moist, dig a square hole, 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide, in an area where water collects. Before you decide which solution to try, draw a drainage plan of your yard. It helps with water retention in sandy soils as well. Good afternoon all, My lawn has become a boggy mess. In very badly drained yards, water may sit on the surface for most of the year. When it comes to tackling waterlogging in a yard, a permanent fix may be the best solution. What Could Cause Mounds of Dirt in My Yard Without Any Obvious Hole? Things That Contribute to Drainage Problems in a Yard, Missouri Botanical Garden: Borago Officinalis, Extension: Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape Community, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: Identification of and Corrective Action for Poorly Drained Soils in the Landscape, Piedmont Master Gardeners: Gardening in Clay, The Family Handyman: How to Achieve Better Yard Drainage, The National Gardening Association: Improving Clay Soil. Existing lawn, you need to identify where the water is coming from Could... This will take longer to improve soil drainage is to install a drainage system parts of midwest ) fill the. 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