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How do I improve clay soil


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You can add compost, peat moss or sand to clay soil to improve the texture.  Gypsum will help break up clay soil, also. The drainage is poor in clay soil but on the other hand it holds water during drought. Roses grow well in clay soil. Also, coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, purple cone flower, asters, day lilies, viburnums etc. Just google plants for clay soil. There are a great many that do well. Stay away from plants that require good drainage.  Even if they make it through the summer the roots will probably rot during the winter. 

 

PS Everything in my yard grows in clay soil. Come look!

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Don't add sand to clay soil or you'll end up with cement!  http://patwelsh.com/wpmu/blog/soils/never-add-clay-to-sand-or-sand-to-clay/

 

 

Sawdust is a good cheap amendment for clay soil.  Be sure to have a Penn State soil test done before planting.  Any amendments can cause changes in PH. 


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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Don't add sand to clay soil or you'll end up with cement!  http://patwelsh.com/wpmu/blog/soils/never-add-clay-to-sand-or-sand-to-clay/

 

 

Sawdust is a good cheap amendment for clay soil.  Be sure to have a Penn State soil test done before planting.  Any amendments can cause changes in PH. 

If you happen to have access to a lot of old drywall, and you're not creating a food garden, then take your frustrations out on smashing up the drywall.  It's made of gypsyum and will break up clay soil nicely.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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Guest Roger Natti

P.S.  Drywall, gypsum --- what they are talking about is lime --- pelletized, powdered, whatever.  Clay is acidic, lime is basic.  By adding lime/gypsum/drywall what you are trying to do is adjust the pH level.  Some plants thrive in acidic soil, some can't stand it.  Depends on what you are trying to grow.  If it's just grass, lime heavily twice a year.  By reducing the acid level in the soil you also improve the efficiency of any fertilizer you use.

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Shrubs: ninebark,  juniper, arborvitae, lilac, red-twigged dogwood, mock orange, juniper, spirea, forsythia, hydrangea, mugo pine, barberry, witch hazel, cotoneaster, potentilla  I grow all of them very successfully.

 

Perennials and bulbs: bee balm, coreopsis, all of the perennial sages, daffodils, grape hyacinths  hyacinths, tulips, catmint,  hardy geraniums, yarrows, columbine, bellflowers and hundreds of others. 

 

Grow native trees for the best results.

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We already have our veggie garden, So what I would be planting in the clay would be flowers, shrubs, ect....

 

Into each hole dig peat moss, sawdust or potting soil making sure to break up the sides of the hole so the mixture transitions gradually to the clay.  Be generous with the width of the hole and the amendment.  You don't want the plant to end up in a hole that fills with water that can't drain.  If you can make a smaller hole down to the bottom of the clay then do so.  Our clay is about a foot thick with rocks under that so I always dig a deeper hole and set the plant higher than normal.  Everything usually settles to a proper depth.  If the shrub is expensive or important then do a Penn State soil test before you plant.  Then you know exactly how to prepare the soil.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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