IzzyM (author) from UK on December 07, 2011: Apart from the whole clay soil aspect, I like the idea of isolating and growing plants that would normally struggle in this climate, like potatoes. If you employ a company to do it for, beware of workmen trying to charge a fortune - they'll bring in a machine and have it dug out in half a day or something and want to charge you big bucks. Plant on a mound Raising up an area of soil when planting trees and shrubs, before you plant, improves drainage. More often there is no easy way to shed excess water. Angle the pipes so that water will flow into the main pipe. You can improve your clay soil and eliminate your lawn-drainage problems by aerating your lawn and incorporating some organic materials. You can aerate the lawn by either spiking the lawn with a garden fork or aerator shoes, or by using a hollow tine aerator. French drains are like herringbone drains without the pipes. Else do like I am doing, and make your own. Ask us about it. Most plants, except bog plants, do not like having their feet wet because they can quickly rot. Wet soils and dead patches allow mosses to thrive in the lawn over winter. Juliette Kando FI Chor from Andalusia on December 07, 2011: Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on December 07, 2011: Thanks, maybe I will get outside and do what you've suggested. Space side drains at 10 ft intervals for clay soil and 25 ft intervals for loamy soil Dig out the trenches, saving about 6" off the best topsoil to backfill. Perlite is a volcanic rock that is puffed like popcorn to be very lightweight, and takes up a … Compaction will lead to poor drainage and the dreaded clods that gum up tillers and make working clay soil such a pain. Watch your yard during rainfall. Aerating Clay Soil Wait to aerate your soil until it’s completely wet or dry. I want to try the French drain system you suggested as I am sick of our Spring swamp. The soakaway should be at least 6 feet deep and filled with rubble to collect the water. Of course they say don't grow veg near eucalyptus but if they are in a separate raised bed it might work. Aerate the soil. Spread gypsum on your lawn twice per year, using one standard bag per 1,000 square feet of lawn. How to Improve Lawn Drainage With Clay Soil. You want to have the trench at a downward slope. Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 09, 2011: When I dig around in my garden, sometimes I forget how awful it was when we moved in. Adding sand will likely make your clay soil harder and clump even more. We would love to show how it’s done. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! forking organic material into clay soil to improve it. It's many better for you to hire the machinery and employ someone with a bit of muscle to help you. Grading may also be necessary if your lawn is soggy and does not have an adequate slope for water runoff in addition to the clay soil. While it is possible to adjust the pH of your soil to grow certain plants, the process can be time-consuming and very expensive. It was a LOT of work, but it worked. 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. Angle the pipes so that water will flow into the main pipe. Topdressing the soil I think I am going to go for raised beds gardening to grow my vegetables now that the trees I planted for increased shade have begun to mature. What do you think? An alternative method is to create french drains. Soil that drains too slowly likely has too much clay in it. My current garden soil is clay but alkaline. Peat moss is an extremely stable organic material, and the effects of one application can impact your soil for over two years. If using dried seaweed meal, apply 100-200 grams per square meter. I think it should be Hub of the Day! Herringbone drainage system. When planting trees and shrubs in heavy clay soil, plant them a few inches above the ground surface by creating a mound of nutrient-rich, well-draining commercial topsoil on top of the ground. The 5 year old eucalyptus trees are now 20 meters high. When it is finally ready, it should more or less pH neutral which will be great for growing just about anything. This is where raised bed gardens are useful. My clay soil in southern Spain has been driving me barmy. (3-6 oz per square yard). Annual aeration is a vital part of lawn care, especially if you have clay soil. Line the trench with landscape fabric to keep earth out of the gravel to allow water to percolate through easily. They are very easy to use, and you can find out whether your garden soil is acid or alkaline in just a couple of minutes. IzzyM (author) from UK on December 09, 2011: I installed my own land drainage system years ago when I was young and fit, and that included digging out the trenches. Adding compost and other organic materials tend to neutralize the soil, so you'll have trouble growing plants that love either acidic soil or alkaline soil. IzzyM (author) from UK on December 08, 2011: Earthworms can't live in heavy clay soil that is mostly dry like here. Clay soil is particularly susceptible to compaction. However, if the problem persists, consider installing land drainage pipes to remove excess water permanently. Another way to improve soil drainage is to build up the soil where you are having the drainage issue or create a berm to redirect the water flow. Improve the soil mix. I have not actually heard of a connection between eucalyptus trees and veggies? Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on December 08, 2011: This is an excellent article! If the soil in your lawn clumps together and your grass is brown and patchy, you likely have clay soil. I've found that garden compost is best, but soil conditioners such as seaweed, farmyard manure, or bagged manure products like Scott's Organic Dehydrated Manure can also improve the soil quality. Cover the surface of the trenches with gravel or small stones. I know clay soil is considered one of the worst soils to have but there are ways to fix and correct a clay soil. Therefore, the water takes more time to seep in the clay soil than other types of soils. It also adds liquefied Seaweed and Humic Acids (Carbon) to help generate and feed beneficial soil microbes of all types (including mycorrhizae). You can purchase or rent lawn aerators at most home-improvement, garden or hardware stores. Having worked with clay soils for years, I've learned a few simple ways to improve the structure of the soil. Don't add sand to clay soil. We have clay soil here in Nevada. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, Easy Digging: Improving Your Soil to Avoid Poor Drainage in Yard or Lawn, LawnCare.net: The Importance of Good Lawn Drainage. This is a discussion on our five-step strategy for improving clay soil. These are very useful tips - I really could have used these tips 15 years ago when I started planting gardens and had no clue what was doing :) Over time, I've worked more organic matter in so it's not as bad anymore - it definitely takes time and hard work! Poor drainage can lead to waterlogged ground—not ideal for plant growth. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost or sphagnum peat moss on top of your lawn. Well Sue you are just down the road from me, and I built raised beds this summer - it finally got to me!! I hope. Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. After a year or two of repeated applications, the soil will become more friable and easier to work with. Another way to improve soil drainage is to install a drainage system. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost or sphagnum peat moss on top of your lawn. Injecting air pockets into clay soil is essential for improving drainage, breaking up … Perlite. Aerate your lawn when the soil is moist. Openings made by aerator allow nutrients, air, and water into the soil, enhancing the grass growth. Bulbs: Avoid the smaller, delicate ones that need light, warm soils. Start by digging the main drainage trench—two to three feet deep in a straight line across your garden. Don’t add sand to clay soil. Instead, the trenches are filled with rubble and gravel and replace the topsoil. There are certain plants that can grow in clay soils. 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