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Can anyone give me some advice.  I have recently moved to a new property which has a large garden but nothing has been done, so starting from a blank page.  At the bottom of the garden there was once a border which has now completely overgrown with weeds.  The length of the border is approx 16metres and 2 metres wide.  The problem I have is the soil is heavy clay.  I want to completely turn over the area ready for planting a new border.  I have read positive and negative reviews on various websites about using Gypsum to break up the soil.  I realise that I would need a vast amount to cover the area and would be costly but if it works, i'll go with it.  Has anyone had any experience of using Gypsum on heavy clay soil.  I will also be incorporating compost and composted bark to help break down the soil. 

Any advice regarding Gypsum would be greatly appreciated. 


  • I have heavy clay soil and just dig in horticultural grit, compost, occasionally manure, sand.... I try do do this before the clay starts to bake. I also add grit and compost to the planting hole when I'm putting in new plants. Sorry it doesn't actually answer your gypsum question, I have never come across it.
  • When you say new property do you mean new build? If so, then you'll probably have rubble hiding in the soil too which (as advised by the helpful people on here) you'll need to dig out. 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,319
    I believe gypsum can help to break down heavy clay’s fine particles but I don’t think it does much more than that apart from add to the calcium levels maybe(?) not too sure. I have heavy alkaline clay and the best way to make it workable is as lovegardening says, dig in as much compost, manure and grit as you can to create a friable, workable, enriched soil. You will be giving your plants the best start, encourage beneficial soil bacteria and worms. It is a long process, you need to keep adding year on year and you will wonder where the hell it all goes... 

    I never use sand, turns my soil into concrete, even so called ‘sharp’ sand.

    check your PH too - because mine is very alkaline, I use ericaceous compost and leaf mould to try and get it closer to neutral.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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