Clay, clay and more clay

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by tonylort, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. tonylort

    tonylort Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver
    We purchased our home this past year and have discovered that the lawn is growing on clay. There may have been some topsoil there at some time but it appears now to be solid almost entirely impermeable clay. We had all the drain tiles redone this year so drainage around the foundation is fine but the water sits on top everywhere else. Any and all suggestions for rectifying this problem would be welcomed.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Install drainage system under lawn as well.
     
  3. douglas

    douglas Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    princegeorge b.c
    Hi
    Have your lawn aerated and sanded (course sand) spring and fall. Think about adding some humus to the soil> It will may take about 3 years to recover.

    Another plan you may want to try is to put a catch / drainage basin in the middle of the yard (ie. dig down 3 feet by 2' ) .

    You might be surprised as to the quality of soil down there.

    Generally speaking Your " top/soil " was probably transported and sold while others were being built, you may have gotten the fill from other foundations. Check with your builder as to what they consider top soil(ie the soil that comes attached to the turf or 6 to 24" deep?) Also ask for the Geotech survey

    Regards Doug
     
  4. owentorgerson

    owentorgerson Member

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    Location:
    Valemount, BC
    You will certainly want to install and drainage system of some form. With the amount of water that falls in Vancouver and a clay base that does not allow water to go anywhere, your grass will be prone to diseases caused from an abundance of moisture (i.e.) Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia solani), Dollar Spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa) and my two favourites... Snow Mold, Gray Or Speckled (Typhula spp.) and Snow Mold, Pink Or Fusarium And Microdochium Patch (F. nivale And M. nivale).

    These diseases thrive in 7 degree celius to -1 degree celius weather with high moisture. They will be characterized by a thatchy layer of yellow/tan spots. The only difference between Vancouver and the north is that turf in Vancouver receives water directly and up north, water is accumulated via the melting process. One way to combat - gently rake, apply a light funicide and re-seed.

    However, the BEST way to avoid all of the above is to install a drain. Get to know your edging and spade shovels - they're such a good guys. Good luck!!
     
  5. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Denman Island,BC
    Our solution was a layer of sand (from the same source as the sand for the septic field: not too coarse) about 4 - 5" deep, followed by direct seeding. You have to keep it watered while it establishes, but after that we had no problems except on a few areas that the sand was too thin, easily cured by adding sand and overseeding. The area was nearly flat, maybe 1/8" per foot. We installed no drainage except at the lower edge.
    The clay underneath was solid blue, and except for the rocks you could have used it for pottery. We only found out after we purchased that the property had been known as "water world"
    Ralph
     
  6. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    X-maryland now New Mexico
    Lots of good advice here on the importance of keeping clay drained so there is no standing water so there is no need to add to that. But clay isn't necessarily bad as it is usually high in nutients and trace elements. Get the clay to work for you vice against you.

    If you sand or otherwise top dress your clay soil, you may find you have to do a little every year for awhile as clay is finer than sand and the sand will seem to disapear into the clay.
     

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