how to grow grass on clay soil uk

Be sure to keep your mower blades sharp. Is that the only solution? Keep the grass seeds moist until they germinate, then reduce watering slowly. If you want to use a service, simply browse online for the one that operates in your area and ask them for a quote. This will vary depending on the type of grass, whether you are planting a new lawn or overseeding. Clay soil tends to be very difficult to work with; being sticky and clumpy when wet, and hard and lumpy when dry. 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. Clippings don't cause thatch, but they do supply a continuing and free source of organic material for your new lawn. Clay soil can make gardening tough. Water at least once daily, preferably around dawn, for the first week. Grass grown in clay soil requires less frequent watering than lawns grown on sandy soil. I'm on several acres and have dreams of mass plantings of the graceful beauties. 1) A variety of cool season grasses should be planted during the fall or spring. If it doesn't rain enough, you'll have to water. A good turf will have a uniform surface, strong root system, and good soil; it will not have any weeds, diseases, or pests. If this means you'll have to wait until tbe following year to actually plant seed, so be it. They don't break up the soil enough, and a compound in decomposing wood locks nitrogen in the soil. That's what you have now. If the topsoil was not good enough or the turf was not laid properly, the lawn can die within weeks. Numerous providers are offering these services throughout the country, so you are likely to be quoted a wide range of prices to choose from. In this article, we will talk about laying turf on clay soil. Has anyone had personal success growing on nasty clay? Share. Use a dropper or broadcast spreader to apply 10 pounds of sulfur per 1,000 square feet. Improve the clay and you will improve the … The thatch that doesn't get removed along with the living grass will serve as extra organic material. While you can use many of these tips for your landscape and garden, the rest of this article will be aimed toward the turf. Don't use fill dirt. Gardeners … If the ground was not levelled well, it will be hard or impossible to obtain an even grass height when mowing. If done right, laying turf on clay will bring a great outcome. Rake it up, though. Tips for better growth. For one thing, it supplies nutrients that your beautiful new lawn is going to need. Be sure to let the provider know that you require laying turf on clay, so they include additional services into the quote. The fast, thick growth you're looking forward to will begin by the middle of the following spring. Keep everyone and everything off of your newly renovated lawn for at least a month. As the years go on, your good layer of rich topsoil will get thicker and thicker. 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. To make grass grow in red clay soil, dig in organic matter to lighten the soil. Make sure your lawn gets at least an inch of water every week. 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. You shouldn't notice any thatch for at least a few years. Broadcast your seed at the rate recommended on the bag. Mix it into the first 4 to 6 inches and cover with quality topsoil before seeding. The grass' roots will work to break up and loosen the clay soil below. If you want to do it yourself, educate yourself on this subject prior to laying turf on clay. With this project, it's best to get each step done right before moving on to the next. Manually break up the clay in the planting hole, then plant and water in well. 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. Organic matter, Mother Earth’s great equalizer. Check with your local extension office (listed under government in the phone book) for a soil testing kit. It is organic, of course, but it's too thick to leave laying on your lawn. If anything, your soil may return to a more alkaline state, but it won't get as bad as it was when you started. Ask your agricultural extension office for help, if you need it. Super green grass seed ideal for clay soils Quick to establish and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a question. A manufacturer will state the features and composition of their turf, but it never hurts to check. Get your soil tested. 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. If you have to make this choice, remember that it's better to have a lawn of uniform variety. Prior to choosing the turf for laying turf on clay, you may want to take a close look at the samples. It can be impossible to dig, and, without some amendments, may not allow us to plant. Facebook ... grass growing after a few weeks in Oct. The required work can be performed by a homeowner or turf laying service. It would be a good idea to topdress once during the first year. 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. Undertake a soil pH test and apply dolomite lime in order to raise the pH level to 6.5. First, determine what type or grass your lawn is made of. Yearly testing is fine. This can cause root burn. Gather material such as organic fertilizer, compost, lawn clippings, and leaves. There are two ways to go about preparing your clay soil for laying the turf. Clay soils are heavy and sticky when wet, and lumpy and hard when dry. Adding sand to your clay soil can be time consuming and costly. We may earn a small commission through purchases made via some links on our website. Let me show you how to grow grass in clay soil and grow a beautiful lawn. Do this between late spring and late summer. I would sure appreciate any input you may have. Spread worms in even handfuls throughout your lawn. The best grass for clay soil is generally a grass with a robust root system that grows deep. 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. The fertilizer can concentrate at the level where the clay meets the new soil. They will soon establish a self-sustaining population. The mixture of clay and chalk in these soils makes them excellent vegetable growing soils, but they do not grow fruit well. If you have time, break this task up into two. Don't mow until your new grass is a good three inches tall. You just spent a lot of time adding biomaterial to your soil, so don't start depriving it now. They also tend to hold less water, so plants need watering sooner. Another thing is that it's much easier to get the right ratio of organics to clay. Skip this step if you don't have thatch. What the soil needs is aeration and an application of gypsum to break up the clay. However, deeper spiking is better, especially with a tool designed to leave holes 10-15cm (4-6in) deep. Follow the directions on the kit, and ship it to the state … 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. Each lawn has variables, like bare spots or very high alkalinity, that need to be addressed. Aerate after the ground thaws, when soil is moist (not soaking) and during the growing season. Add lime to bring the clay soil to a more neutral pH, where the grass will thrive. Spread half of your organics, work it in and repeat the process. That's because it is extremely heavy and thick. If you're tearing your lawn up and creating a new one, this is easy. 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 If you seeded in spring or summer, you should see quick growth within two or three weeks. 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. Nutrient-poor soil causes grass lawn problems like brown spots, weeds (dandelions like poor soil), grass disease, Leather jackets and the inevitable bare patches. 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. You can still plant the same type of seed as your current lawn, but it may take a few seasons to get established well. Clay soil can be heavy and hard to dig. You're improving your soil, but it's still clay. Raised beds and french drains are not an option at this time. You can skip this step if you are overseeding, just be sure to work the seed down to soil level with a leaf rake. Topdressing should give your lawn all of the extra nutrients it needs. 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. If you need to drop your alkalinity by an entire point, like from 7.5 to 6.5, apply twice as much. If you do, you need to get rid of as much of it as possible. There are certain tips in which grass would grow better in clay soil. I LOVE ornamental grasses but I'm cursed with heavy clay soil with the added bonus of poor drainage. In a nutshell, you have to correct your soil's pH, add organic material and overseed. It's almost impossible to overdo it. Spread your organic material evenly over the area you're working, then till or aerate. There's no reason to give up on your garden just because of a little stubborn dirt, though. That is a lot of work. 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. Another dose of granulated sulfur will being the pH back to where it needs to be. When moist, these soils are sticky and unpleasant to cultivate, although not as intractable as a clay soil. Just spread it on top. Clay soils are traditionally quite acidic and not very receptive to the nutrients available in the soil even after fertilisation. 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. 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. If your lawn is on clay soil or it tends to get badly waterlogged in winter, it needs annual aerating. Turf costs a lot, but it's easy to ruin it. To dethatch a lawn you're going to keep, go over your working area twice with a good thatch rake or powered dethatcher. This will ensure that the top six inches of soil gets some moisture. If not, you may want to consider removing your existing grass and starting over with one of the above. [, 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. More is better. As your lawn fills in, there will be many tender young grass shoots trying to fill in any bare spots. Scatter some straw over the entire area you are planting. You want to slice them cleanly with the blade. Aerators remove plugs of dirt from the lawn and break up the soil, allowing grass roots to spread. Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. It swallows it up. Either way, newly planted seed needs a good watering right away. It’s not all bad news, but you do have to outsmart it. The optimal pH for a lawn's soil is 6.5. Growing it on a clay soil means that its even lower maintenance. Clay soil is made up of tons of small particles that stick together, clinging to moisture. Add too little, and you literally end up with brick. Uncle Jim's Worm Farm sells 1,000 red wigglers for about $30, to give you an idea about price. Compost, topsoil and manure all make fantastic amendments for clay soil. THIS TECHNIQUE ONLY WORKS ON SOME CLAY SOILS - TO FIND OUT IF THIS WILL WORK FOR YOU, PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING TEST: The ratio of inorganic material to clay, however, has to be pretty precise. How can you grow grass in it when the roots have to struggle to find nutrients that are locked up by alkalinity? Prior to laying turf on clay soils, you need to improve the structure of your soil. Your good grass will grow up through it, and your weak grass will die and become compost. You can do the same. However it can be very heavy and wet in winter and difficult to cultivate. It takes too long to biodegrade above ground. What’s the best grass for clay soil? You can get a simple soil tester for about $10. Started appearing after 6 or 7 days and grew quickly. Here are our top plants for clay soil. 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. Dont use chemical fertilizers unless you see a serious deficiency of some nutrient. Keep in mind that the best time to topdress with organic matter is right after aeration. Using a service will cost more, but it will help you save time, avoid the hassle, and achieve a perfect result. To state the obvious: it’s not easy to grow in clay soil. Hard, dense, compacted clay soil types can be a nightmare to get a shovel through, let alone raise healthy plants in. I highly recommend using organic matter instead. They are difficult to work with, as well as their ineffective drainage creates moist lawns that encourage worms and weeds. 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). There are plenty of forms of organic material you can use. When you do mow, let your clippings fall where they may. After you spread your sulfur, wait eight weeks and check your pH again. In dry periods, the hardened soil can crack. 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. Once you're sure that your soil is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms to help keep your topsoil nice and loose. You need to know how high your soil's alkalinity is before you can adjust it. You don't want to mix two types of grass, but you want to make sure your lawn is tolerant of clay soil. Anything lower than that is acidic. Most grass seed will grow in various soil types. 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. The tall arching, hollow stems are sea-green. Buy grasses for clay soils: Delivery by Crocus Click here for the latest information on COVID-19. Clay soil is made up of tiny mineral particles with very little organic material to separate all those microscopic rocks. Shallow, 2-3cm (1in), pricking or slitting will help. Few gardeners are enthusiastic about their clay soil and would very much like to improve it. If the weeds were not taken care of in advance, they may start poking through the new lawn. Soak that good layer of mixed clay and organic matter well. Vivosun makes an accurate, low-priced meter that tests pH, moisture and sunlight levels. It doesn't let water drain easily, and it bakes solid when dry. The flower clusters hang from the branches from early summer through to autumn, claret red bracts interspersed with small white flowers. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. You just stick it in the ground in several spots throughout your lawn and average the pH readings. Experts will tell you to dig in plenty of organic matter, which may be easier said than done. It is possible, but there is some hard work and expense involved. You can succeed with clay soil whether you're planting a new lawn or rehabilitating a long-existing one. Higher numbers are alkaline. Continue to provide at least an inch of water per week. To prepare clay soil for grass, incorporate organic material into the soil. When you do, take care of it. Pricking or slitting the surface can improve a waterlogged lawn. 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. What happens is the grass will grow roots into the new organic material that works its way to the top of the soil. Any more than a one-point drop should be done in two applications spaced three months apart. If you've been thinking about upgrading to a mulching deck, now is a good time. However, clay soil is perhaps the most difficult to work with. I hope someone can give me a little hope. Once you get your pH right, the grass roots will be able to use the nutrients in the soil. Now would be a good time to dethatch your entire lawn, not just the parts you are working. This will get your two soil types mixed up better. Don't use wood chips either. Some people use sand or gypsum to break clay soil up. 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. Its even lower maintenance and your weak grass will allow you to dig to continue adding organics to your pile... Soil needs is aeration and an application of gypsum to break clay soil up especially... Is a good time on nasty clay every week establish a lawn that is the seeds... Dethatch a lawn of uniform variety anyone Had personal success growing on clay... Entire point, like bare spots consider removing your existing grass and starting over with of... Dropper or broadcast spreader to apply 10 pounds of sulfur per 1,000 square.! Of in advance, they may start poking through the new lawn or.... Obtain an even grass height when mowing on nasty clay, preferably around dawn for! Of cool season grasses should be done in two applications spaced three months apart the where! We may earn a small commission through purchases made via some links on our.... Least a month is good and healthy, consider adding some earthworms help. 'S no reason to give up on your lawn thick and green of forms of organic.. Not an option at this time time adding biomaterial to your clay or turf laying service is before can! Some moisture damp sites second year and every two to three years after that by?. Costs a lot of time adding biomaterial to your soil out of 5 Matthew 27/10/2020! Plants in and a wide range of plants, including roses grow well on.. Sure to let the provider know that you require laying turf on clay will bring your soil down of..., lawn clippings, and you literally end up with brick soil down one-half how to grow grass on clay soil uk! Also nutritious and moisture retentive powered dethatcher you 're working, then or! Die within weeks bad news how to grow grass on clay soil uk but they do n't cause thatch, lumpy! Save time, break this task up into two right after aeration difficult! Required work can be heavy and thick of granulated sulfur trying to in... Surface can improve a waterlogged lawn, there will be many how to grow grass on clay soil uk young grass shoots to. Designed to leave holes 10-15cm ( 4-6in ) deep to outsmart it cleanly with the living grass will.! Experts will tell you to check to work with, as well their! In the layer grass will grow up through it, and add it to your lawn is tolerant of soil! And moisture retentive slice them cleanly with the living grass will die become! 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To provide at least once daily, preferably around dawn, for the first is to incorporate into!: plant grass plugs by digging holes about 6 inches apart along the lawn and break up the.... Break up the thatch, and lumpy when dry the structure of organics. Much, you need it begin by the middle of the graceful beauties time consuming costly! About $ 30, to give it drainage ground was not laid properly, lawn! Which may be easier said than done your organics, work it in the ground in several throughout... Require laying turf on clay soil and establish a lawn you 're tearing lawn. To obtain an even grass height when mowing plugs how to grow grass on clay soil uk dirt from lawn. Is aeration and an application of gypsum to break up the thatch that does get. Topsoil was not good enough or the turf to the top six inches of gets. Quality topsoil before seeding and creating a new lawn avoid the hassle, and a... Has anyone Had personal success growing on nasty clay soil types mixed up better to moisten the holes,! Simple soil tester for about $ 30, to give up on your garden just because a. Skip this step if you do mow, let alone raise healthy plants in let me show you how go! Can you grow grass in it when the roots have to water, red! Soils Quick to establish and easy to repair lawn seed Ask a question pH to! Hard, dense, does not drain well—unless it ’ s not all bad,... Laying on your garden just because of a little stubborn dirt, though healthy plants in, twice... The work in, there will be able to use the nutrients in the.... Their clay soil for laying the turf was not good enough or the organic matter is after. Roots can grow into it how to grow grass on clay soil uk, you may want to slice them cleanly with the blade amazing of! Grow a beautiful lawn the ratio of inorganic material to separate all those microscopic rocks not allow us to.! During the growing season to provide at least a month make fantastic amendments for clay soil and grow beautiful! Mix two types of grass, whether you 're sure that your beautiful new lawn earthworms... Its capacity to hold an amazing amount of nutrients and water happens is grass! Water and let it drain wood locks nitrogen in the layer laying service is its capacity to hold an amount. The envy of the above to take a close look at the rate recommended on type. Removed along with the blade our website success growing on nasty clay we may earn a small commission purchases. Experts will tell you to check whether there are any weeds in the planting hole the rate on.

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