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pwendel7
04-07-2010, 12:20 PM
In KC and have the worst soil/dirt ever. Clearly has a lot of clay in it and need to know how to break it down. Have tried the spray stuff that is supposed to work but didnt see any change. Have heard of putting down some granule but cant remember name of the stuff and dont know the amount. Any help would be appreciated.

KarlP
04-07-2010, 02:20 PM
You can't break down clay into anything much smaller.

I'd think you'd want to throw down a couple inches of very course sand, a couple inches of manure, a couple inches of compost, and maybe even something fluffy like sawdust/cornmeal/perlite. Then till it a whole lot lot and use a mulching mower to keep adding organic material to the lawn and add additional organic material to the garden beds every year.

ICT Bill
04-07-2010, 05:27 PM
As you have found out there are no quick fixes, might as well spent the money on beer and drank it, it would do as much good

The easiest (but not so easy) way is to go rent a core aeration machine, you will need to do this twice a year for 2 years

core aerate, make at least 3 passes in different directions. North/south then east/west then 45 to that

overseed with good quality seed, you get what you pay for with grass seed. try to find a variety that has good disease resistance for your area, talk to an ecxtention agent, they know local issues

top dress with a good to great quality FINISHED compost, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep

water for 2 weeks to keep seed moist
enjoy new yard

in that order

zanemoseley
04-07-2010, 10:55 PM
I've got crappy TN clay and had problems last year. I think I've gotten over the hump. I have a large lot and all I could afford was 1" of top soil, tilled some areas and rock hounded everything. Lots of decent seed, straw and fertilizer. I wouldn't put sand on clay. I've heard if you just add a bit it actually makes it worse, I think you have to add a LOT to make drainage better. I second renting a core aerator, I did two weekends ago.

mysteryman
04-08-2010, 08:51 AM
In KC and have the worst soil/dirt ever. Clearly has a lot of clay in it and need to know how to break it down. Have tried the spray stuff that is supposed to work but didnt see any change. Have heard of putting down some granule but cant remember name of the stuff and dont know the amount. Any help would be appreciated.

I believe what you're thinking of is GYPSUM. As I recall from a bag I had twenty years ago they advertised it as 'acting like thousands of tiny hoes'. The effects are more of a long term thing than immediate, however.

Kiril
04-08-2010, 09:50 AM
I believe what you're thinking of is GYPSUM. As I recall from a bag I had twenty years ago they advertised it as 'acting like thousands of tiny hoes'. The effects are more of a long term thing than immediate, however.

Gypsum does not act like 'thousands of tiny hoes' unless you are dealing with a sodic soil. Use gypsum to mitigate sodic soils and as a Ca & S nutrient adjustment in basic (pH > 7) soils or in soils you wish to adjust Ca & S with little impact on pH. It is not an amendment that will magically relieve compaction.

dfischer
04-14-2010, 01:08 AM
+2 for ICT Bills advice

cgaengineer
04-14-2010, 06:25 AM
Clay is actually not all that bad, Id prefer it over heavy sand soil any day...at least clay holds moisture. Around here clay is the norm as well so you have to learn to adapt. Bills advice is good.

I have topdressed my front lawn with a sand/organic mix, mostly sand and it has improved my soils. I now have a smoother lawn and it is not as compacted as it was a year ago. Though I have heard mixing sand with clay produces concrete, I have not found that to be the case.