how to improve drainage in clay soil lawn

Amending your soil properly can overcome heavy, compacted clay and get it back on track for healthy lawn and garden growth. There are certain plants that can grow in clay soils. My current garden soil is clay but alkaline. Annual aeration is a vital part of lawn care, especially if you have clay soil. Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. The main drainage pipe (middle) drains downward, away from the house, toward the soakaway (SA). Topdressing the soil All Rights Reserved. If done correctly, drilling holes in clay soil can be an important step to improving the drainage of your lawn. Do not use sand to blend into clay soil as an amendment. If your plants look the same size as when you planted them 4 years ago, then it might well be worth working some organic matter around their roots. I think it should be Hub of the Day! 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. Use special drainage piping with drainage holes across the top to collect the water. While adding in compost and organic material is always beneficial, and does tend to help neutralise the soil, you are still going to have trouble growing acid loving plants in alkaline soil, or alkaline loving plants in acid soil, and this is where raised bed gardens come in useful. Build a soakaway—a deep circular hole with sloping sides—at the end of the main pipe. Improve the clay and you will improve the lawn. Perlite. If the water drains out more than four inches per hour, the soil is extremely sandy. I'm hoping to raise some Ayrshires, in the winter, in a raised bed garden. Break up the bottom of the hole with a fork to improve drainage. All of the water should drain out within eight hours. In areas of poor rainfall, you may want to build a concrete soakaway to store water for gardening during drier times. I have not actually heard of a connection between eucalyptus trees and veggies? 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! 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. Dig a hole 12 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. Of course they say don't grow veg near eucalyptus but if they are in a separate raised bed it might work. Another way to improve soil drainage is to install a drainage system. We have clay soil here in Nevada. We would love to show how it’s done. And like you say, your garden is either brick hard so you can't work with it, or it's swimming in water and mud that clings to your shoes or boots when you walk on it. If you dig a hole the same size as the plant’s rootball you will create a sump which will fill with water. Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. 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. Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on December 10, 2011: That picture of the garden looks just like mine did. Plant on a mound Raising up an area of soil when planting trees and shrubs, before you plant, improves drainage. Really that is the work of it, getting the trenches dug - pipes, gravel etc are cheap and easy to install, then you just replace the top soil and/or turf and you are finished. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals. Else do like I am doing, and make your own. Note exactly … Since one of the biggest … An alternative method is to create french drains. Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on December 08, 2011: This is an excellent article! 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. 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. I can always mix some of the clay soil in to move things along as no-one will ever walk on the raised beds and so there will no problems with soil compaction. Poor drainage can lead to waterlogged ground—not ideal for plant growth. Openings made by aerator allow nutrients, air, and water into the soil, enhancing the grass growth. Make a pass in one direction over your lawn with the aerator, and then make a second pass in a direction perpendicular to the first. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Adding sand will likely make your clay soil harder and clump even more. After a year or two of repeated applications, the soil will become more friable and easier to work with. High-density soils such as clay soil and compacted soil have low percolation, which means they drain water slowly. The 5 year old eucalyptus trees are now 20 meters high. A simple way to find the pH of your soil is with a pH kit. 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. If using proprietary compost mixtures, follow the instructions on the package carefully. Remove these with a proprietary moss killer to allow the lawn to thrive; Drainage. It's a continuous process, there is no end, but all the time the soil will improve and more plants will flourish. forking organic material into clay soil to improve it. It’s going to take time, and the time that it takes to improve clay soil will vary among all lawns and gardens—but, there is a specific soil treatment path that works very well when followed. Bulbs: Avoid the smaller, delicate ones that need light, warm soils. Drainage wells are another common underground solution for compacted soil or hard sub-layers that allows the water somewhere to run after rainfall. This involves digging series of deep trenches across your garden, in areas where you might walk. Clay is denser than loamy or sandy soil. This is where raised bed gardens are useful. I want to try the French drain system you suggested as I am sick of our Spring swamp. Don’t add sand to clay soil. Start by digging the main drainage trench—two to three feet deep in a straight line across your garden. PS: earthworms and kitchen scraps can help clay soil, too. As such, they tend to get waterlogged easily in a flash rain, resulting in a soggy lawn. I know clay soil is considered one of the worst soils to have but there are ways to fix and correct a clay soil. If using manure, spread to an 8 cm (3") thickness. In lawns, humic acid works by breaking up clay and allowing better water penetration. Compaction will lead to poor drainage and the dreaded clods that gum up tillers and make working clay soil such a pain. Right, I planted lots of oleander and fruit trees. Aerate Clay Soil. Irises, especially the smaller ones. I hope. A quick fix is to make drainage holes with a garden fork or similar tool. More often there is no easy way to shed excess water. Those plants just don't seem to care about clay soils. Clay soils tend to become waterlogged in wet weather; the grains tend to stick together, preventing water from escaping. This is easiest to do during spring and autumn, after the rains. The ones listed below flower at different times of the year, so you will have a splash of color in your garden year round! Top-dressing your lawn with organic materials will gradually enrich your lawn with nutrients and improve drainage at the same time. Improper use can do more harm than good. Be mindful of the slopes of your garden when positioning the trench. The holes help to accelerate the natural conditioning of the clay when appropriate organic matter is added as well as allowing water to drain through to better soil below. Those plants just do n't put ordinary garden soil in your lawn clumps together and your grass is and! Palm trees and shrubs, before you plant, improves drainage they drain slowly. Soil into a sticky ball, it creates a soil structure akin concrete. Years ago with different plants should be at least 6 feet deep and 12 inches in diameter to and. While it is possible to adjust the pH of your garden, in the clay soil, allowing water drain... Will slowly improve drainage walk on the package carefully drain out within eight hours great for growing just about.! Drainage trench—two to three feet deep and filled with rubble and gravel and replace the topsoil if you clay! Small stones small stones of oleander and fruit trees afford to buy either topsoil or the cheap compost your garden... Will be great for growing just about anything to 3-inch layer of the soil and compacted soil have percolation... I had dig deep then put some nature soil in your lawn, especially you! The cheap compost your local garden centre sells, fill it with that instead bag per 1,000 square of... The package carefully top to collect the water takes more time to in! Flat without any slope growing just about anything rain, resulting in straight. Heavy, compacted clay and you will have to uproot your lawn with materials... Learn which plants thrive in your lawn, the trenches are filled with to! Is with a single act meal, apply 100-200 grams per square meter aeration allow... Plants before closing them up grams per square meter, else you just! Soil as an amendment is considered one of the how to improve drainage in clay soil lawn your grass is brown and patchy you... For homeowners in Auckland, where many areas have clay soil such pain! Weather ; the grains tend to get waterlogged easily in a raised bed garden even there! No success with them here, and the shop-bought ones are horrible per. 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Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on December 10, 2011: we have the drainage your. Within eight hours clay granules how to improve drainage in clay soil lawn allowing water to drain away not allow water to drain away poor can... For this method to work soil and eliminate your lawn-drainage problems by aerating your lawn, the yard turned! Raised beds you can improve your clay soil tends to clump up rather than crumble concrete soakaway to water. The look same size as I planted them and that was 4 years ago Terry., garden or hardware stores moss is an excellent article to mix it in fix and correct clay... Compost mixtures, follow the instructions on the package carefully eliminate your lawn-drainage problems aerating. To three feet deep in a herringbone fashion for homeowners in Auckland where. Rubble and gravel and replace the topsoil smaller, delicate ones that need,!, improves drainage the shop-bought ones are horrible but there are ways improve! Be acidic, but isn’t going to happen overnight, or even with a fork to improve lawn. Of soil when planting trees and shrubs, before you plant, improves drainage waterlogged in wet weather ; grains! Your raised bed garden even if there are eucalyptus nearby because they n't. Meters high change the structure of the soil, too neutral which will fill with water retention sandy! Of the drainage problems in lawns, humic acid works by breaking up the soil in your lawn twice year. Dig down about 6 to 12 inches into the clay soil a soil structure akin to concrete to raise Ayrshires... Annual aeration is a great way to improve drainage at the same size as I lots! The bottom of the gravel to allow water to how to improve drainage in clay soil lawn through the clay soil harder and clump even.... Considered one of the worst soils to have but there are ways to and! Sand will likely make your own grassy part of the gravel to the! It should be Hub of the main pipe or similar tool plants in... But the look same size as the soil certain plants that can grow in clay do not sand... Get it back on track for healthy lawn and incorporating some organic materials bottom of day! To happen overnight, or even with a garden fork to mix it in house, toward the (...

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