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What Type of Soil is This?

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  • Fire said:

    More on percolation test here. I would say you have loose, free-draining (sandy) soil, at least in the area that you tested; If it's been very wet where you are and the hole drained completed in under three hours. Does it feel gritty to the touch?

    Maybe try and find some gardening neighbours and ask them how things are - although gardens can change even a few doors away.

    If it is very sandy, add organic matter to make it drain less fast, but good to plant things that like sandy soil. Plant what is happy in your soil rather than battling for years to make it otherwise.

    I'm sure other forum peeps will have other ideas. I hope that helps.


    Thank you for your help. I think I have sandy soil. 

    Last year we clear all plants and grass in the garden. We have had surface water every time it rains over the last few months.
    .
    Will you consider the installation of land drains in the lawn area?

    Should I remove 100mm of this sandy soil and replace it with topsoil and compost? I'm getting a mini digger at some point to dig a patio area.





  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,699
    I'm sure others here will have experience of preparing drains and patios.

    Can I ask why you cleared all the plants?
  • Fire said:
    I'm sure others here will have experience of preparing drains and patios.

    Can I ask why you cleared all the plants?
    When I say land drain, I mean under the grass. 

    There was a lot of concrete around, rotten fence, overgrown trees, etc. We thought the best way forward was going to be to clear all and start from scratch.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,699
    🌱
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,699
    Can anyone help with this?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Hi @tuacuerdate. Forget testing it. If you want to plant it up, or lay turf etc,  add lots manure and grit, and incorporate it. Then leave it until spring before tackling anything else. 
    If you've cleared the area completely, there's nothing to take up excess water. 
    Give it a couple of months, and then you can look at planting etc. 

    Which part of Scotland are you in - just roughly? Most soil up here is heavier, and clay. You'll learn how to deal with it over time  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl said:
    Hi @tuacuerdate. Forget testing it. If you want to plant it up, or lay turf etc,  add lots manure and grit, and incorporate it. Then leave it until spring before tackling anything else. 
    If you've cleared the area completely, there's nothing to take up excess water. 
    Give it a couple of months, and then you can look at planting etc. 

    Which part of Scotland are you in - just roughly? Most soil up here is heavier, and clay. You'll learn how to deal with it over time  ;)

    There are plenty of pebbles in the soil, I don't think I need any grit. 

    There is a fence all around the garden. If I add compost before I will have to remove some of the existing soil or the ground level will go too high.

    I'm doing a large patio and I will need to get a mini digger to dig out the foundation and flatten the garden. So, it will have to be done all in once.

    I don't have road access to my property, the mini digger would be the only way of bringing bulk bags of material, including soil.

    Would it be bad for the lawn to remove 100mm of the existing soil, replace it with topsoil mixed with compost?

    For the borders where I want top plan fruit trees, I'm not sure how to prepare the soil.

    All the planting will be done a few months after

    I'm from Perth.


    Thank you for all your help.
  • We've had so much rain over the last few months, surface water is a given, especially as you've got nothing soaking the water up.

    I've never worked with sandy soil, but I've experience with heavy clay. I dug through rotted manure and compost, then mulched a few times a year, planted into soil mounds and the soil did improve over the years. I wouldn't worry about your planting beds or fruit trees.

    If you want a pristine lawn, then maybe I'd consider digging the area out, and filling it with a few tonnes of quality top soil. SAying that, I found that the biggest problem with my heavy clay lawn was hot summers when it was very dry/cracked ( i just steered clear of the lawn during the winter when it was boggy)

    As long as your patio is laid on a good base of MOT1, there shouldn't be any drainage issues. 

    One thing that I had to learn: soil improvement is an ongoing program. If you think you could dig out the garden and bring in perfect soil, you're probably underestimating the cost (you'd need roughly 1 tonne per cubic metre)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Pebbles aren't the same as grit. There's a limit to how big gravel needs to be to be useful  :)
    If you're doing a patio, I'd wait until that's done. It'll create a lot of mess and upheaval, and it will also compact the ground, so anything you do now will be a waste of time and money. Bear in mind that if it's  paved, you'll have run off too. Hard landscaping should always be done first, and everything else comes afterwards.
    It's also difficult to give advice when we can't see the whole plot too. Adding manure and grit won't necessarily raise the soil level that much, so don't worry too much about that. You can also just add a gravel board or pond liner, or similar, along the bottom of the fence to give more enclosure, should that be necessary.
    Perthshire is generally slightly drier than in the west,  but it doesn't mean it's dry. The vast majority of soil up here is neutral to acid, which is ideal for all sorts of planting.  Well rotted manure is your friend - it helps with water retention in sandy, free draining soils, but it also works some magic in heavy, clay soil as it opens up the structure, preventing it being waterlogged in wet weather, and drying out in summer.
    I'd look at what grows in your area to get a feel for the soil. Fruit trees need some prep, so wait until you are in a position to do that.


    I'd agree with @Greenbird that removing soil and replacing it won't necessarily help the situation. The most important thing you need to cultivate right now is patience  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • tuacuerdatetuacuerdate Posts: 16
    edited February 2020
    Fairygirl said:
    Pebbles aren't the same as grit. There's a limit to how big gravel needs to be to be useful  :)
    If you're doing a patio, I'd wait until that's done. It'll create a lot of mess and upheaval, and it will also compact the ground, so anything you do now will be a waste of time and money. Bear in mind that if it's  paved, you'll have run off too. Hard landscaping should always be done first, and everything else comes afterwards.
    It's also difficult to give advice when we can't see the whole plot too. Adding manure and grit won't necessarily raise the soil level that much, so don't worry too much about that. You can also just add a gravel board or pond liner, or similar, along the bottom of the fence to give more enclosure, should that be necessary.
    Perthshire is generally slightly drier than in the west,  but it doesn't mean it's dry. The vast majority of soil up here is neutral to acid, which is ideal for all sorts of planting.  Well rotted manure is your friend - it helps with water retention in sandy, free draining soils, but it also works some magic in heavy, clay soil as it opens up the structure, preventing it being waterlogged in wet weather, and drying out in summer.
    I'd look at what grows in your area to get a feel for the soil. Fruit trees need some prep, so wait until you are in a position to do that.


    I'd agree with @Greenbird that removing soil and replacing it won't necessarily help the situation. The most important thing you need to cultivate right now is patience  :)
    The heavy work in the plot will be done first, the patio will be installed after.

    I need to know about the soil because if I hire a digger for a week, I have to use the opportunity to bring the bulk bags in. The soil/compost will be in bulk bags in the corner of the garden until all the work with patio and machinery is completed.

    If I order compost, will I get manure or do I have to specify?

    Thank you

     
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