Heavy clay soils can cause quite a few problems for those who love getting out in their garden, but they can also be very fertile if managed correctly.
So we’ve made a helpful list of key tips to help you get the best out of your clay soils and have your garden back up to scratch in no time.
1. Get the right seed
Nowadays there’s a grass variety for almost any gardening situation, whether it be to combat tough soils, shaded areas or the family pooch, there’s something out there for everyone. Finding the right variety isn’t always easy, as mixtures can contain all kinds of grass species and unless you’re fluent in Latin it can be a bit of a guessing game as to what their properties actually are. Fortunately, at The Grass People we created a mix specifically designed for clay soils - IMPRESS: Clay Master. IMPRESS: Clay Master is a specially blended grass seed mixture designed for clay and heavy clay soil conditions. The tall fescue component has a strong deep rooting system which not only allows it to penetrate your clay soils effectively but ensures a drought tolerant lawn, especially in clay soils that are prone to dryness. The perennial ryegrass in this mix makes way for a fast-growing and hard-wearing lawn to thrive. If your clay soils are also suffering from shade, combine this mix with one of our shaded mixes to give your shaded clay soil lawn the complete solution it needs to impress.
2. Assess drainage
A common problem in gardens with clay soils are drainage issues, with lawns often becoming waterlogged and quickly turning to mud in winter. If drainage is very poor it may be worth addressing this before sowing. Introducing land drains can be a time consuming and costly job but can be worth it as the benefits will last for a very long time. Most clay soils aren’t too severe and better drainage can usually be achieved by using a less expensive method. Applying lime or gypsum can do wonders for soil drainage whilst aeration and fertiliser management can further improve soil structure.
Aeration is good practice in any lawn but particularly in those with heavy soils. Aeration involves creating holes in the soil either through spiking or pricking. Spiking should only be done once a year in Autumn with a garden fork and once every three with a hollow-tine fork. Pricking can be performed more regularly, in particular through the summer months with a solid-tine aerator. This practice can be a short term and long term benefit and should reduce the risk of having a waterlogged lawn especially throughout the winter.
Last but certainly not least is the all-important fertiliser application. Doing so in Spring and Autumn can provide year-round coverage. It would take a while to list every last benefit that a fertiliser can offer your lawn but the main things to note include great root establishment, better soil structure and better absorption of nutrients. The main benefit in clay soils is the additional boost to drainage and root growth as this helps in especially wet and dry situations.