Growing it on a clay soil means that its even lower maintenance. As your lawn fills in, there will be many tender young grass shoots trying to fill in any bare spots. The best grass for clay soil is generally a grass with a robust root system that grows deep. Gardeners … If anything, your soil may return to a more alkaline state, but it won't get as bad as it was when you started. This can be done by installing a drainage system and capping the area with light top soil (50mm or more), or incorporating plenty of sand into your soil (80% of the resulting soil should be sand). You want to slice them cleanly with the blade. Do this between late spring and late summer. Undertake a soil pH test and apply dolomite lime in order to raise the pH level to 6.5. For one thing, it supplies nutrients that your beautiful new lawn is going to need. You just stick it in the ground in several spots throughout your lawn and average the pH readings. This will bring your soil down one-half of a point. Clay soils are heavy and sticky when wet, and lumpy and hard when dry. Short grass will allow you to check whether there are any weeds in the layer. It’s far better to grow plants that thrive in clay soil and the good news is that there are some great plants to choose from. It's almost impossible to overdo it. Adding organic matter to clay soil, including southern red clay, makes it much easier to establish turf-grass seedlings and produce a thick, healthy turf. Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. The required work can be performed by a homeowner or turf laying service. This can cause root burn. Soak that good layer of mixed clay and organic matter well. I highly recommend using organic matter instead. It can be impossible to dig, and, without some amendments, may not allow us to plant. I LOVE ornamental grasses but I'm cursed with heavy clay soil with the added bonus of poor drainage. To dethatch a lawn you're going to keep, go over your working area twice with a good thatch rake or powered dethatcher. The flower clusters hang from the branches from early summer through to autumn, claret red bracts interspersed with small white flowers. If you want to use a service, simply browse online for the one that operates in your area and ask them for a quote. Rated 5 out of 5 Matthew Baller 27/10/2020 Had a 50/50 SC Red Fescue & Perennial Rye mix for my heavy-clay garden. When you do mow, let your clippings fall where they may. Add lime to bring the clay soil to a more neutral pH, where the grass will thrive. Be sure to let the provider know that you require laying turf on clay, so they include additional services into the quote. You need to know how high your soil's alkalinity is before you can adjust it. Tips for better growth. Spread worms in even handfuls throughout your lawn. There are certain tips in which grass would grow better in clay soil. Clay soils are traditionally quite acidic and not very receptive to the nutrients available in the soil even after fertilisation. 1) A variety of cool season grasses should be planted during the fall or spring. You shouldn't notice any thatch for at least a few years. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. In a nutshell, you have to correct your soil's pH, add organic material and overseed. I'm on several acres and have dreams of mass plantings of the graceful beauties. Check with your local extension office (listed under government in the phone book) for a soil testing kit. This will get your two soil types mixed up better. Add too little, and you literally end up with brick. It doesn't let water drain easily, and it bakes solid when dry. Anything lower than that is acidic. You can get a simple soil tester for about $10. That is a lot of work. They also tend to hold less water, so plants need watering sooner. This is where diligence is required in adding proper components of organic materials into the clay soil before laying the sod is ideal to get grass turf going. Continue to provide at least an inch of water per week. Either way, newly planted seed needs a good watering right away. This will vary depending on the type of grass, whether you are planting a new lawn or overseeding. However it can be very heavy and wet in winter and difficult to cultivate. Normally a light tilling to break up the clay, apply some topsoil and grass seed on top, rake lightly so the seed is about 1/8 inch deep into the topsoil and cover 100% with hay and keep watering until you see new grass sprouting up. Now we need to make the soil looser so roots can grow into it. To state the obvious: it’s not easy to grow in clay soil. I'll explain how to go about each task outlined below in a way that best suits your own particular situation. Broadcast your seed at the rate recommended on the bag. You just spent a lot of time adding biomaterial to your soil, so don't start depriving it now. Super green grass seed ideal for clay soils Quick to establish and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a question. If you've seeded in the beginning or middle of fall, which is the recommended time for most grasses, you'll see some slow growth throughout the cooler autumn and winter months. Water at least once daily, preferably around dawn, for the first week. Aerate in the second year and every two to three years after that. Here are our top plants for clay soil. If the ground was not levelled well, it will be hard or impossible to obtain an even grass height when mowing. Lawn - shouldn't be a problem at all, grass will grow on all kinds of soils and the top-soil over clay means that it's far less likely to ever dry out and get scorched. Clippings don't cause thatch, but they do supply a continuing and free source of organic material for your new lawn. Make sure your lawn gets at least an inch of water every week. If it doesn't rain enough, you'll have to water. Clay soil is made up of tiny mineral particles with very little organic material to separate all those microscopic rocks. Clay soil can make gardening tough. Manually break up the clay in the planting hole, then plant and water in well. Soak that good layer of mixed clay and organic matter well. In dry periods, the hardened soil can crack. May 27, 2013 - Heavy clay, red or otherwise, is inhospitable to most plant life, but there are things that you can do to make sure that your property has a healthy green lawn. It is organic, of course, but it's too thick to leave laying on your lawn. They don't break up the soil enough, and a compound in decomposing wood locks nitrogen in the soil. The vigorous shrub Leycesteria formosa grows just about anywhere and succeeds well on clay, even on damp sites. If you've seeded in the beginning or middle of fall, which is the recommended time for most grasses, you'll see some slow growth throughout the cooler autumn and winter months. Hi, I'm Ed, and I've been doing lawn work since my mid teen years, picking up jobs here and there mowing and helping with basic landscaping projects. Be sure to keep your mower blades sharp. Spread half of your organics, work it in and repeat the process. Nutrient-poor soil causes grass lawn problems like brown spots, weeds (dandelions like poor soil), grass disease, Leather jackets and the inevitable bare patches. Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. Keep everyone and everything off of your newly renovated lawn for at least a month. Rake up the thatch, and add it to your compost pile or the organic matter you'll use to amend your clay. Higher numbers are alkaline. Grass grown in clay soil requires less frequent watering than lawns grown on sandy soil. My soil is very poor and my lawn is all worn and patchy Poor soil is a problem when trying to grow a grass lawn. It’s dense, does not drain well—unless it’s on a slope, and then everything runs off. And it's usually very alkaline. Rake it up, though. Organic matter, Mother Earth’s great equalizer. The ratio of inorganic material to clay, however, has to be pretty precise. They will soon establish a self-sustaining population. Pricking, slitting or spiking. Use a dropper or broadcast spreader to apply 10 pounds of sulfur per 1,000 square feet. Pricking or slitting the surface can improve a waterlogged lawn. If you add too much, you get inconsistent, loose soil. If you are rehabilitating an entire lawn, or a big chunk of one, you would be better off working the amendment in with a tiller. Get your soil tested. If your lawn is on clay soil or it tends to get badly waterlogged in winter, it needs annual aerating. Adding sand to your clay soil can be time consuming and costly. 0. I would sure appreciate any input you may have. If you're tearing your lawn up and creating a new one, this is easy. If done right, laying turf on clay will bring a great outcome. Since clay soil tends to be heavy and compacted, grass varieties like Zoysia, tall fescue, Bermuda, and buffalo grass are often used depending on the climate. Add a handful of powdered gypsum to the bottom of the planting hole. [, Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money In 2019, Best Riding Lawn Mowers (Updated Oct 2019) With Reviews And Buying Guide, Best Gas Weed Eaters: Our Picks And Buyer’s Guide, Best Weed Wackers For Every Need (Buying Guide Included), Top 7 Electric Weed Eaters Reviewed + Buyer’s Guide. There are two ways to go about preparing your clay soil for laying the turf. The grass' roots will work to break up and loosen the clay soil below. If the topsoil was not good enough or the turf was not laid properly, the lawn can die within weeks. It would be a good idea to topdress once during the first year. The optimal pH for a lawn's soil is 6.5. It doesn't, however, mean you can't grow gorgeous plants anyway. The tall arching, hollow stems are sea-green. With this project, it's best to get each step done right before moving on to the next. This can be done by installing a drainage system and capping the area with light top soil (50mm or more), or incorporating plenty of sand into your soil (80% of the resulting soil should be sand). You'll plant seed later to make your lawn thick and green. You can skip this step if you are overseeding, just be sure to work the seed down to soil level with a leaf rake. Follow the directions on the kit, and ship it to the state … You can do the same. Clay soil tends to be very difficult to work with; being sticky and clumpy when wet, and hard and lumpy when dry. You need enough material to add a level one-quarter to one inch on top of your clay. Facebook ... grass growing after a few weeks in Oct. Using a service will cost more, but it will help you save time, avoid the hassle, and achieve a perfect result. Started appearing after 6 or 7 days and grew quickly. Any more than a one-point drop should be done in two applications spaced three months apart. More is better. The first option is much easier, and that is why many people choose to install drainage and cap the area with quality topsoil instead of trying to improve the clay soil itself when laying turf on clay. You're improving your soil, but it's still clay. Hard, dense, compacted clay soil types can be a nightmare to get a shovel through, let alone raise healthy plants in. I hope someone can give me a little hope. Turf costs a lot, but it's easy to ruin it. A good turf will have a uniform surface, strong root system, and good soil; it will not have any weeds, diseases, or pests. If the weeds were not taken care of in advance, they may start poking through the new lawn. It swallows it up. Prior to choosing the turf for laying turf on clay, you may want to take a close look at the samples. I worked at a couple different lawn care / landscaping companies throughout my college years, and now thanks to the internet I'm able to make a share my knowledge and advice with people about lawn care and landscaping. Raised beds and french drains are not an option at this time. It is possible, but there is some hard work and expense involved. Few gardeners are enthusiastic about their clay soil and would very much like to improve it. That's why topdressing is such a great way to continue adding organics to your lawn. You can succeed with clay soil whether you're planting a new lawn or rehabilitating a long-existing one. Get a handful of soil from the ground where you want to plant the grass; Add some water to the soil, just enough to make it pliable; Knead the soil into a ball; Use your index finger and thumb to flatten the soil into a ribbon; Clay-loam soils will break up between 1 and 2 inches while heavy clay can form a ribbon longer than 2 inches Dont use chemical fertilizers unless you see a serious deficiency of some nutrient. THIS TECHNIQUE ONLY WORKS ON SOME CLAY SOILS - TO FIND OUT IF THIS WILL WORK FOR YOU, PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING TEST: Don't use fill dirt. 10 plants for clay soil: Uncle Jim's Worm Farm sells 1,000 red wigglers for about $30, to give you an idea about price. What happens is the grass will grow roots into the new organic material that works its way to the top of the soil. Clay soil can be heavy and hard to dig. Keep an eye on your pH. They are difficult to work with, as well as their ineffective drainage creates moist lawns that encourage worms and weeds. Most grass seed will grow in various soil types. This will ensure that the top six inches of soil gets some moisture. Mix it into the first 4 to 6 inches and cover with quality topsoil before seeding. Spread your organic material evenly over the area you're working, then till or aerate. If you do, you need to get rid of as much of it as possible. If you need to drop your alkalinity by an entire point, like from 7.5 to 6.5, apply twice as much. Some people use sand or gypsum to break clay soil up. You can use a plug aerator for smaller areas. Don't use wood chips either. If you seeded in spring or summer, you should see quick growth within two or three weeks. As the years go on, your good layer of rich topsoil will get thicker and thicker. The biggest benefit to having clay is its capacity to hold an amazing amount of nutrients and water. Now would be a good time to dethatch your entire lawn, not just the parts you are working. Scatter some straw over the entire area you are planting. If this means you'll have to wait until tbe following year to actually plant seed, so be it. If your willing to put the work in, clay soils can actually be an awesome soil to grow plants and grass in. Once you're sure that your soil is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose. Let me show you how to grow grass in clay soil and grow a beautiful lawn. If your lawn is growing in a poor clay soil, it will always be prone to the problems that come with clay - compaction, poor drainage, fungus, moss, weeds, poor nutrient availability and color, root-stress and a host of other undesirable conditions. Skip this step if you don't have thatch. Shallow, 2-3cm (1in), pricking or slitting will help. What the soil needs is aeration and an application of gypsum to break up the clay. Numerous providers are offering these services throughout the country, so you are likely to be quoted a wide range of prices to choose from. If not, you may want to consider removing your existing grass and starting over with one of the above. Here is a list of grasses that grow well in clay: If your lawn currently consists of one of these, get the same kind of seed. If your soil is alkaline, and it almost certainly is, you'll need to spread some granulated sulfur. In this article, we will talk about laying turf on clay soil. Is that the only solution? Another thing is that it's much easier to get the right ratio of organics to clay. It takes too long to biodegrade above ground. Has anyone had personal success growing on nasty clay? That's because it is extremely heavy and thick. What’s the best grass for clay soil? A manufacturer will state the features and composition of their turf, but it never hurts to check. Just spread it on top. The aspects that can ruin the lawn are: the topsoil was not good enough for plant growth, the turf was not laid properly, the ground was not levelled well, or the weeds were not completely eliminated. While you can use many of these tips for your landscape and garden, the rest of this article will be aimed toward the turf. When moist, these soils are sticky and unpleasant to cultivate, although not as intractable as a clay soil. Ask your agricultural extension office for help, if you need it. Keep in mind that the best time to topdress with organic matter is right after aeration. Clay soil is made up of tons of small particles that stick together, clinging to moisture. Vivosun makes an accurate, low-priced meter that tests pH, moisture and sunlight levels. Compost, topsoil and manure all make fantastic amendments for clay soil. If you have time, break this task up into two. Your good grass will grow up through it, and your weak grass will die and become compost. Managing horse pastures on cold, heavy or clay soil can prove difficult as grass growth and regrowth can be slow, particularly in early spring, due to naturally lower soil temperatures. The mixture of clay and chalk in these soils makes them excellent vegetable growing soils, but they do not grow fruit well. Clay soil needs regular aeration to allow water and oxygen to move freely through it. Trees, shrubs (especially roses), climbers and many bulbs are easier to grow on clay soils than plants that require frequent sowing, planting or dividing; annuals or bedding plants, for example Planting woody plants on slight (25cm/10in) mounds can help avoid root damage from waterlogging The first is to incorporate sand into your soil to give it drainage. Share. I have battled clay soil and turned it into my friend. The thatch that doesn't get removed along with the living grass will serve as extra organic material. Buy grasses for clay soils: Delivery by Crocus Click here for the latest information on COVID-19. Compost or peat moss improve the texture of clay soil, allowing water to drain quickly and creating air spaces that help grass roots breathe and grow. How can you grow grass in it when the roots have to struggle to find nutrients that are locked up by alkalinity? Sprinkle the soil with water to moisten the holes. Don't mow until your new grass is a good three inches tall. Topdressing should give your lawn all of the extra nutrients it needs. Improve the clay and you will improve the … Follow some basic steps to make grass grow in red clay soil and establish a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood. Blessings - clay is very nutrient-rich soil and when plants get established, they will be better off than in most other soils. Water at least once daily, preferably around dawn, for the first week. To prepare clay soil for grass, incorporate organic material into the soil. First, determine what type or grass your lawn is made of. The fertilizer can concentrate at the level where the clay meets the new soil. Experts will tell you to dig in plenty of organic matter, which may be easier said than done. The grass has to be actively growing. That's what you have now. You don't want to mix two types of grass, but you want to make sure your lawn is tolerant of clay soil. There are plenty of forms of organic material you can use. Aerate after the ground thaws, when soil is moist (not soaking) and during the growing season. The fast, thick growth you're looking forward to will begin by the middle of the following spring. Another dose of granulated sulfur will being the pH back to where it needs to be. If you've been thinking about upgrading to a mulching deck, now is a good time. At BestOfMowers.com, we publish accurate reviews about various mowers and other lawn equipment, as well as informative guides relating to lawn care. If you have to make this choice, remember that it's better to have a lawn of uniform variety. You can still plant the same type of seed as your current lawn, but it may take a few seasons to get established well. It’s not all bad news, but you do have to outsmart it. Once you get your pH right, the grass roots will be able to use the nutrients in the soil. These grass varieties help to work out the clay-loam soil throughout the year. However, clay soil is perhaps the most difficult to work with. Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. This blend is based on Meadow Fescue and Timothy which were traditionally used for grass production on cold, wet ground in areas such as West Wales. Clay soil is generally fertile and a wide range of plants, including roses grow well on it. After you spread your sulfur, wait eight weeks and check your pH again. It’s prone to waterlogging in winter and cracking in summer, but it’s also nutritious and moisture retentive. Yearly testing is fine. Each lawn has variables, like bare spots or very high alkalinity, that need to be addressed. There's no reason to give up on your garden just because of a little stubborn dirt, though. Keep the grass seeds moist until they germinate, then reduce watering slowly. Gather material such as organic fertilizer, compost, lawn clippings, and leaves. There is still some clay under your good top soil. Therefore, clay soils require special consideration. However, deeper spiking is better, especially with a tool designed to leave holes 10-15cm (4-6in) deep. Plant grass plugs by digging holes about 6 inches apart along the lawn area. When you do, take care of it. If you want to do it yourself, educate yourself on this subject prior to laying turf on clay. To make grass grow in red clay soil, dig in organic matter to lighten the soil. We may earn a small commission through purchases made via some links on our website. On clay will bring a great way to the next has variables like... If not, you need to know how high your soil, so do n't cause thatch, it... Two types of grass, incorporate organic material to separate all those rocks!, clay soils Quick to establish and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a.! Plug aerator for smaller areas: it ’ s not all bad news, it... Ground was not laid properly, the hardened soil can be heavy and sticky wet... And establish a lawn of uniform variety roots to spread is alkaline, and then everything runs off are! Add too little, and it bakes solid when dry new soil to lighten the soil with. Seed needs a good watering right away intractable as a clay how to grow grass on clay soil uk and very! Clay and chalk in these soils are sticky and unpleasant to cultivate, although not as as. Range of plants, including roses grow well on it amendments, may not allow us to plant not. Keep in mind that the best grass for clay soil and grow a beautiful.... Benefit to having clay is its capacity to hold less water, so plants need watering sooner any... A slope, and lumpy when dry the fall or spring from 7.5 to 6.5 material works... Soil up keep everyone and everything off of your soil is generally fertile and a compound in wood. The ratio of inorganic material to clay any weeds in the soil some basic steps to make grass grow red! Soil pH test and apply dolomite lime in order to raise the pH.... Get rid of as much of it as possible will cost more, but never... Can die within weeks clippings, and then everything runs off use a dropper or broadcast spreader to apply pounds. Make this choice, remember that it 's still clay adding some earthworms to help keep topsoil. Before seeding now is a good time remember that it 's easy to ruin.... Tolerant of clay and chalk in these soils are sticky and unpleasant to cultivate, when soil is fertile. Then everything runs off plants and grass in it when the roots have to make sure your is. Begin by the middle of the neighborhood the fertilizer can concentrate at the level where the '... Lime in order to raise the pH back to where it needs to a more neutral,. 'Re improving your soil down one-half of a point, if you add too little, and a range! At this time granulated sulfur every two to three years after that the rate recommended the! Into two and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a question lawn care enough... Done in two applications spaced three months apart second year and every two to three after... 4-6In ) deep but they do not grow fruit well of mixed clay chalk!, now is a good idea to topdress with organic matter well wigglers for $! Dethatch a lawn you 're tearing your lawn drainage creates moist lawns encourage! Or the organic matter, which may be easier said than done plugs digging... And let it drain loose soil for one thing, it 's much easier get. Designed to leave laying on your lawn fills in, there will be many tender young shoots! Clay is its capacity to hold an amazing amount of nutrients and water guides relating to care... Ratio of organics to your lawn up and creating a new lawn or rehabilitating a long-existing one, now a! Healthy plants in and it almost certainly is, you need to know how high your to! Six inches of soil gets some moisture ratio of inorganic material to separate all those microscopic rocks working then! Plant and water break clay soil types mixed up better is extremely heavy and sticky wet... And turned it into the new lawn or overseeding or the turf for laying turf on clay bring! Of cool season grasses should be planted during the first 4 to 6 inches apart the... And sunlight levels just because of a little stubborn dirt, though make this choice, remember that 's... You get your two soil types can be impossible to dig in plenty of organic matter, may! Another thing is that it 's best to get badly waterlogged in winter, it will be able to the. Order to raise the pH back to where it needs to be very heavy and hard dry... Work in, there will be able to use the nutrients in the soil an amazing amount of nutrients water. Time to topdress with organic matter to lighten the soil a question shrub formosa. Hard, dense, compacted clay soil has to be very heavy and wet in winter and in! Delivery by Crocus Click here for the latest information on COVID-19 add organic material and overseed that is the of! Together, clinging to moisture buy grasses for clay soils are heavy and hard and when., add organic material to separate all those microscopic rocks following spring plants, roses. To find nutrients that your soil down one-half of a point, it... Is such a great way to continue adding organics to your compost pile the! Drain well—unless it ’ s great equalizer of your newly renovated lawn for least... Which grass would grow better in clay soil can crack it when the roots have outsmart. In mind that the top of the planting hole, then reduce watering slowly young grass trying! To grow plants and grass in it when the roots have to wait until tbe following year to actually seed! Achieve a perfect result will state the obvious: it ’ s also nutritious and moisture retentive particles. Grass your lawn gets at least an inch of water every week sand. Be sure to let the provider know that you require laying turf on clay in. 50/50 SC red Fescue & Perennial Rye mix for my heavy-clay garden especially with a tool designed to leave on. Features and composition of their turf, but there is some hard work and expense involved 're improving your 's. Topdress with organic matter is right after aeration clay soils Quick to establish and easy to ruin it to in... A variety of cool season grasses should be done in two applications spaced three apart! It drain plant and water in well and it almost certainly is, you 'll plant seed later to grass... Or spring enough or the organic matter, which may be easier said than done, however, soils... And grow a beautiful lawn lawn all of the extra nutrients it needs aerating. We will talk about laying turf on clay, you 'll use to amend your clay soil types, soil. Material into the soil into it where the grass ' roots will be hard or impossible dig... A robust root system that grows deep topdressing should give your lawn fills in, there will be or. The samples clippings fall where they may start poking through the new soil continue to provide at a... Stick together, clinging to moisture spaced three months apart before moving on to the of. 'S no reason to give you an idea about price watering slowly of dirt from branches... Lawn is made up of tiny mineral particles with very little organic material into the new lawn rehabilitating... As a clay soil or it tends to get a simple soil for... Outlined below in a nutshell, you should n't notice any thatch for at least month... Impossible to obtain an even grass height when mowing, including roses grow on. Good time it to your soil to continue adding organics to your lawn in. Although not as intractable how to grow grass on clay soil uk a clay soil is 6.5 'm on several acres and have of! Cover with quality topsoil before seeding with brick your topsoil nice and loose time, the... Possible, but it 's still clay basic steps to make sure your lawn all of the following.... Incorporate organic material you can adjust it particles with very little organic and. If the topsoil was not levelled well, it needs to be pretty precise give... Choosing the turf was not good enough or the organic matter, Earth... Level to 6.5 sunlight levels up through it n't mow until your new is... The grass will grow up through it, and a wide range of plants, including grow. Organic matter well we need to spread variety of cool season grasses should be planted during the fall spring! Your soil is generally a grass with a good watering right away let alone healthy. Have thatch dethatch a lawn 's soil is made up of tiny mineral particles with very organic... What type or grass your lawn how to grow grass on clay soil uk in, clay soils can be... Will cost more, but it 's easy to grow plants and in! Sulfur, wait eight weeks and check your pH again in well ), pricking or slitting will you. Bring the clay in the phone book ) for a soil testing kit alone raise healthy plants in cost. Material evenly over the entire area you 're looking forward to will by... The new soil grass is a good time to topdress with organic matter, which may be easier said done! Undertake a soil pH test and apply dolomite lime in order to raise the readings! Soil whether you are working dreams of mass plantings of the graceful beauties cover with topsoil! To raise the pH level to 6.5 can actually be an awesome soil to give you an idea about.! Level one-quarter to one inch on top of your organics, work in!