Register free!
Search
 
     

Click for Weather
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-26-2011, 12:42 AM
JFGLN's Avatar
JFGLN JFGLN is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 661
Heavy clay soil

I'm looking for ideas on improving this lawn. Looks like the landscaper applied a thin layer of topsoil over heavy clay. Serious drainage issues. Will topdressing with compost help?
Attached Images
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-26-2011, 12:52 AM
JFGLN's Avatar
JFGLN JFGLN is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 661
Would it be better to start over. Till in compost 6" deep and reseed? It' a big area, about 8000 sq ft.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-26-2011, 09:50 AM
RigglePLC's Avatar
RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 9,249
Drainage issues should be solved with drainage. Install 4 inch black plastic slitted drainage tubing underground. At a minimum, French drains filled with rock. Be sure gutters from house go into underground drains leading out to street. Only other solution is to recontour to provide surface drainage. Maybe you need to have a small hill instead of a valley.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-26-2011, 09:58 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: District 9 CA
Posts: 18,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by JFGLN View Post
Would it be better to start over. Till in compost 6" deep and reseed? It' a big area, about 8000 sq ft.
If you are willing to till .... then till it, as this is the only reasonable solution, especially if you are dealing with compaction. Soil test and determine how much compost and whatever other amendments you need so you can get it all done in one shot. Proper soil prep is one of the main points to address when establishing turf .... and all too often it is ignored completely or done wrong. For your reference.

http://www.seattle.gov/util/stellent...2021255394.pdf

Last edited by Kiril; 04-26-2011 at 10:03 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:01 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: District 9 CA
Posts: 18,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by RigglePLC View Post
Drainage issues should be solved with drainage. Install 4 inch black plastic slitted drainage tubing underground. At a minimum, French drains filled with rock. Be sure gutters from house go into underground drains leading out to street. Only other solution is to recontour to provide surface drainage. Maybe you need to have a small hill instead of a valley.
That entirely depends on the reason for the lack of drainage. If it is a result of a shallow depth application of topsoil over a compacted clay, then no drainage in the world is going to make it better.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:09 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,820
You said there is a thin layer of topsoil over the clay. How thick is the clay layer?

Tilling in compost is always a good idea, but compost breaks down over time and your soil is back to a platelet structrure.
A sandy compost tilled in thoroughly and deeply, is about the best way to go. If you are able to hit gravel or sand below the clay even better, as it will require less work and material to fix your drainage issue...

Meanwhile mow only when it is dry and allow the soil to dry. Mulch mow and add compost after aeration, which more often the better.

You have a large lawn, only work as much as you can handle with a wheel barrow and regular reartine tiller. Start with the lowest area first and go from there.

If you decide to hotdog it with big bad machines like 'true professionals', your disappoint will continue. Do one spot right and forget about it. A proper lawn with proper soil never needs aerating, unless there is too much traffic, fert, and water...
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:17 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
That entirely depends on the reason for the lack of drainage. If it is a result of a shallow depth application of topsoil over a compacted clay, then no drainage in the world is going to make it better.
That is a good point to keep in mind... Drainage can mean a number of different things, depending on the context... In this case, increasing perculation will help alleviate drainage issues...
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:19 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: District 9 CA
Posts: 18,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
You said there is a thin layer of topsoil over the clay. How thick is the clay layer?

Tilling in compost is always a good idea, but compost breaks down over time and your soil is back to a platelet structrure.
That is not entirely true. Compost will continue to break down into more stable forms of organic matter which will help keep the soil structure somewhat friable. That said, you need to keep the organic inputs into the system (i.e. your SOM) steady, especially if you are removing clippings, leaves, etc.....
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:26 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
That entirely depends on the reason for the lack of drainage. If it is a result of a shallow depth application of topsoil over a compacted clay, then no drainage in the world is going to make it better.
Double post because the storm is messing with my satelite connection...
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-26-2011, 10:40 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 9,820
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
That is not entirely true. Compost will continue to break down into more stable forms of organic matter which will help keep the soil structure somewhat friable. That said, you need to keep the organic inputs into the system (i.e. your SOM) steady, especially if you are removing clippings, leaves, etc.....
I agree... That is true...

However, if you're going through the work of tilling, a sandy compost would be better than a pure compost, IMO...

Another thought occurred to me is: What if th homeowner decided to add 4" of top soil that was High in SOM on top of the clay hardpan... Would that solve his problem?
__________________
*
Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:52 PM.

Page generated in 0.10687 seconds with 8 queries