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Is this a big mistake?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by skrats, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. skrats

    skrats LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    I have a client that wanted me to mix sand with his totally clay yard; just in the front, leaving the back and sides all clay. I do not have a lot of experience with clay, not knowing if this was even a good idea because I like black dirt. Anyway the problem was it has been raining so the clay is real wet. i went there today and spread a thin layer of sand on his front clay yard. i then mixed it all with a rototiller. this left clumps of clay everywhere. My question is this. Should i have mixed these soils in the first place and how can i get the clumps to break up better when it dries up?
  2. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    Quote from this article: 5137 Improving Your Soil

    If you follow this link it list's many popular soil additives and their properties: What's a true soil amendment?

    Best of luck,
  3. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    By adding sand to clay, you are going to create much bigger problems, i.e. large particles+small particles=concrete. Add organic matter to loosen clay soils.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Gypsum can help break up clay as well.
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Sand + clay = Bricks

    Working with wet clay is not a good idea. Working wet soils can destroy the positive aspects of the soil structure that may have existed. Clay is a very fine-particled soil that settles into a tightly packed mass. Now you definitely need to add organic matter and/or gypsum to break up the clay. Also, never 'layer' different types of soil. The added matter needs to be worked into the soil. Layers will stop the migration of nutrients,water and air and can create barriers to a healthy expanding root system.
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    sand plus clay = concrete
  7. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    What do you intend to plant in the area? Is it going to be turf or garden, perhaps both? While there is no " easy fix " with regards to clay soil, there are simple steps that can be taken to improve your chance of successfully maintaining a healthy landscape where heavy clay exists.

  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Never ever work clay or any other soil when wet.Your going to cause more problems than you solve.You should have studied or asked before making a mess out of that job.Don't jump in enless you have educated yourself about what you are going to attempt.
  9. skrats

    skrats LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Yes the lawn went perfect... more perfect than i expected. What i did was first i pulverized the clay then spread the sand evenly then rototilled it twice. I let this mess dry up four a week and went back and it was all ready for me. i drove over the whole lawn first with my tractor tires to get good compaction and too break up the clumps of clay and sand. This worked real well. i then pulverized again dragging any big clumps that wouldnt break up out of the yard. after this i hooked up my power seeder and sowed the yard. it went great. i learned a lot from the other posts as well as from my experience with this yard being i dont work in clay all the time.
    thanks for your help
  10. Meadowbrook

    Meadowbrook LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    Ditto. :dizzy:

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