Forum home Problem solving

Clay soil, digging it out



  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,464

    A good point, thanks GemmaJF

  • Gooner9Gooner9 Posts: 8
    What would you do if it doesn't drain? Digging 4 ft is a lot!

    Do you layer the grit and sand or mix it all?

    Thanks for the link to the grit
  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    I would not amend the clay soil as it is just grass but if drainage is an issue (sitting water for more than ten minutes after heavy rain) then I would look at the lowest point in the lawn, cutting the turf up, remove all the clay and backfill with grit/rubble, cover the top 6 inches with compost and relay the turf. That should help as a quick and reliable fix.

  • Inpartially reseeded my lawn which is on heavy clay. I took some clay off it and topped with screened topsoil. However, the old lawn seems to be on a bed of sandy loam and red granite stones (like the decorative ones you can buy). It drains really well but grows well too. Not orthodox but seems to work. Grit seems to be the way to go to help break the soil up.

  • richardfirichardfi Posts: 11
    Hi I’m totally (and I mean totally)green at gardening and have found this thread as I have this issue. 
    I was thinking of removing the turf; then removing a layer of clay soil and replacing it with top soil to assist with the drainage. Your points of view/expert pointers and ridicule are welcome. 
  • Last September I ordered a ton of topsoil to fill in an old pond, only to find that it was a ton of clay. However, I used it anyway, adding 3sacks of farmyard compost to the mix, and a liberal quantity of Vitax Clay Breaker in the top 6 inches. Being impatient, I left it only for a fortnight, but I couldn’t believe the rapid difference in the quality of the clay/soil. After seeding at the start of October, I now have a healthy green sward, with no significant drainage problem over winter, despite the deluges in February. I would recommend trying VCB, it is pricy, but worked for me. You can read lots of reviews on the big Am zon web site. No connection, other than a satisfied customer.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,350
    Hi @richardfi. Plenty of organic matter is the best solution for clay. This is obviously difficult when you want to improve a lawn, rather than a border or similar.
    You can certainly remove the turf and try to improve what's underneath, but that's a time consuming, awkward process. 
    The alternatives are to spike the ground and brush coarse sand or grit down the holes to improve drainage. If the lawn is in a sunny site, and not too big, that's probably easiest. It's still a fairly slow, and ongoing, process.
    Another is to remove the turf and install proper drains. Again, in a good site, and if it's small, that's ok, but more expensive unless you can do it yourself.
    With a shadier site, it's a different matter. Shade will always cause issues for grass, so it really depends on how perfect you want the lawn to be. You'll spend quite a bit of time feeding, moss removing, spiking etc.
    Large sites are expensive to rectify, no matter what you do.

    Some people spend huge amounts of time trying to make lawns look like the 19th hole on a golf course. Others are less pernickety. That's really what it comes down to  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sign In or Register to comment.