With barbecue feasts coming, I wanted to be a gracious host with, jaw-dropping green to serve tender smoked meat, burgers and lamb chops. But with my lawn barren and lacking the vibrancy to get those oohs and aahs due to seemingly stubborn clay soil, I decided it is high time to find out why. In this article, I’ve noted down what I’ve found as a brief guide on how to grass in clay soil.
Test the Clay Soil Density
Creating a green scenery right at your doorstep can, indeed, be a welcoming experience. Not only can a green well-maintained lawn improve a home’s appeal, but it also generates positive vibrations. But with clay soil, an arid lawn with ground that feels like a hard rock can bring snooty relatives nose up due to compaction. While it’s easy to identify if your lawn’s soil is clay type, it is wise to test for density just to be sure what particular clay soil type you have and initiate the correct treatment.
You can do it by simply scooping at least half a cup then, soaking it with a few drops of water in your hand by creating a ball, and voila. If it breaks at 1 inch, that’s loam or silt; at 2 inches– clay loam, when more, that’s heavy clay. This hand-texturing test will help determine what soil you have and find the best possible treatment. Check out these pics below on how to do the hand texturing test.
Clay Soil Treatment
With the clay soil’s structure, essential minerals will not be easily accessible to grass or any plants for that matter. The idea is to turn it over and improve the structure and tilth of the soil. Good tilth, by the way, helps to increase the viability of growing grass seeds by improving deep root penetration.
To do this, combine organic materials while turning clay over. Add some coarse sand, animal manure (except chicken), roadbase stones, gypsum and of course, compost– lots of it.
A liquid clay breaker like the Jackhammer Organic Liquid Soil Aeration can help lessen your efforts as it penetrates deeper and longer into the clay soil to soften and make room for seeds to take root.
During summer, keep it moistened using a heavy mulch to prevent hardening.
Clay soil treatment is critical when prepping up your lawn for grass seed. When not cultivated beforehand, grass seeds will have a hard time penetrating deep into the soil to take root.
Preparing Clay Soil for Grass Seed
As a rule, treating clay soil before planting grass seed is essential. Ripping it up at around 350mm to 450mm comes highly recommended by experts in gardening to ensure adequate root development. This also helps to break compacted soils up.
Compost and other organic material must be completely ripped and carefully blended into the topsoil. So does the use of chemical supplements like gypsum and other liquid clay breakers. You can make good use of a rototiller like this 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator to help mix compost to the ground while breaking up compaction at the same time.
Growing Grass in Red Clay Soil
When thinking of cultivating grass in red clay soil, prepping may require you to add lime before applying compost. This will help neutralize soil’s pH level and making it viable for grass seeds to grow and thrive. Keep in mind that nutrients can be locked into the soil when the pH level is poor. Prepping it to be around 6.0 or above can help create a vigorous and drought resistance lawn you love.
When the soil is finally ready, sow two portions of seeds vertically then, perpendicularly. Use a broadcast spreader to help lighten the load and for a more even spread.
Add mulch and provide enough water each time to maintain the moisture of the ground. An automated sprinkler system with a timer like this Orbit Single Outlet Programmable Timer can be used so your newly sown seed and its ground gets enough moisture all day long.
The best type of Grass for the Perfect Clay Soil Lawn
Choosing the kind of grass as well as plants to grow must also be taken into mind when planning to cultivate clay soil.
Albeit its challenging condition, Buffalo grass and Bermuda grass are perfect for clay soil lawn type.
Plant species like wattles such as White Sally wattle, pravissima, and boormanii, willow-leaved Hakea, Pangola grass, Callistemons, and so on are also known to tolerate clay soils.
As always, finding ways to provide constant TLC to soil and plants, must be constantly taken into mind to finally create the perfect green grassy lawn you want.