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Thread: Clay dirt

  1. #1

    Unhappy Clay dirt

    Hi,
    I just bought a new house in south western Ohio. My backyard is about medium sized. But the thing is there is alot of clay patches all over the yard. I dont know whether to till up the patches or the whole yard, or lay fertilizer and seed over the clay. Please can someone help me and give me some good advice.

    Chris.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Clay dirt

    We have a lot of clay here also. I would till up the clay patches, mix in sand and compost to thin out the clay and then seed. Depending on what "medium" size means exactly, doing the whole yard may be the way to go. I didn't go for the whole yard solution in our case there is too much area, I just work on a few of the clay patches each year. But, I am not a grass fanatic, in fact I'm just happy if the weeds are green.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: Clay dirt

    The best remedy for clay soil is organic matter, not chemical fertilizers. Odds are that the general condition of the entire yard is poor, the noticeable clay spots are just less conducive to growing things than surrounding areas. It is possible that these spots are the result of backfilling low areas or holes from removed trees, though from your post I get the indication that this is not the case.

    Remedy would be to use large amounts of compost or composted manure, a large amounts being a layer that is 4 to 6" deep across the surface of the yard, then worked into the the soil as deeply as possible. This will give new grass something to utilize while it's getting a foothold and improve the soil to the depth that the compost is mixed.

    It will take more than one application such as this to really bring bad, clay soil up to a decent life sustaining level, however, for the general purposes of a yard, you'll probably do fine with just the single application prior to planting sod or seed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Clay dirt

    Well..........around these parts (NW Illinois)........when we encounter a lawn (particularly on a new construction house) with clay it usually means one thing; the builder sold off (or took) the black-dirt topsoil from the house site and spread the clay from the basement coring around the lot site.

    Personally, I'd be inclined to remove the top 12" or so of the clay areas and have black dirt hauled in. Adding amendments to clay may help support a lawn, but you could still end up with drainage problems,puddles, etc. And you'll have to continue with adding more amendments periodically.

    Then again, we're used to/blessed with rich black dirt most everywhere around here. If someone builds on a hill where clay is present from eons of erosion.......black dirt is reasonable enough to warrant hauling it in to acquire a long-term resolution.

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