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NEW USER - Help with soggy clay.

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jds1469, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I have moved into my cookie cutter house in august 06 and until this year have not really had much time to tend to my lawn. Like most people I have sod in the front and side yards and seed in the back yard.

    my biggest problem is in the fenced in back yard I have clay soil that even a week after a heavy rain the clay in my back yard at the back of the yard is soggy and holds water really bad. I have 3 siberian huskys that like to run and play and just make a huge mud pit (if i would let them). I was hoping to deal with the clay first before trying to deal with the muddy part.

    Somewhere i saw about throwing a small amount of sand on the ground where you have clay and over time it will help but i think it also said you should plug your ground first. i am sure that if i aerated the soil my dogs would just have fun with all the plugs that i didnt get removed and my wife would kill me. does the sand work without the aeration? this weekend im going to compost my whole yard because the owners before me used synthetic fert and i have a problem with thatch.
  2. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    have this weird idea that I have tried several times
    Take a post hole digger and dig a hole about two feet
    deep. Re-fill the hole with 50% compost and 50% of
    what you took out of the hole. Stir a little grass seed
    into the top quarter inch of soil.
    I think that by doing this, you will create a wonderful
    home for worms and a great place for deeeeeep grass
    roots. Over time, the roots and the worms will
    convert the neighboring dirt into soil.
    If anybody tries this, I hope you'll write me and tell
    me how it turned out.

    fyi we did not reseed this is just re growen, no tea no water no fert of any kind...

  3. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Ok I will try that this weekend and update you in a while. If i never see any worms in my back yard should i go ahead and purchase some redworm eggs from the internet to get a jump start? Also, should I start closer to my house (higher ground) so I do not flood out the worms by digging a drainage hole basicly?
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I have done this. Your essentially creating a french drain. It will work to some extent for draining sub-surface water directly around the hole and surface water if located correctly, however you also change the hydraulics of the soil in that location, which can lead to problems with irrigated sites.

    If your case I would give serious consideration for putting in a sub-surface drain which terminates in a dry well.
  5. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Kiril is on the right track.

    Your mud problem is not a soil problem, but a drainage problem. Better soil might diminish the problem, but it might not. You need to install a french drain with perforated pipe that runs to daylight, if possible. If you cannot run to daylight from the location, make it a little deeper, use coarser stone and create more of a sump than a drain. Protect the stone from soil infiltration with landscaping cloth, then amend the soil with compost and grow some beautiful turf.

    As for the dogs playing with aerator plugs, that was just about the lamest excuse for not aerating I've ever heard. :laugh:
  6. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    here is my back yard. whats the best way to do this. should i just run a drain straight east and out of my fence? or should i run one also running north and south to intersect with the one running east so it would trap the water running down the slope. btw all around the back yard is a full fence just didnt want to draw it.


    btw at the north east of my yard the area between my back yard and ther other back yard looking at mine there is a huge drainage spot for all the water i could run this into
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    yeah your rite it does change the hydralics of the soil,we had a mud hole before and now it drains deeper, and better. the soil also seems to maintain the water in the dry times better.
    and if you can drian to the ne get that trencher fired up!
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Where is the lot graded to and do you know if your dealing with a shallow water table?
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I think you misunderstood my statement. If your planting turf on top of this "dry well", then your soil in that location(s) will dry faster than surrounding soils.
  10. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    the lot is graded away from the house at what i would say is a steaper then average grade. most of the problem is that the water is getting to the fence and stopping right there. i had put the mulch around the tool shed because it was almost a lake behind it and really the first mulch i put down was almost like compost and it really seemed to stop alot of the water in that area so thats why i was thinking that maybe by improving the soil might help.

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