Problems With Clay Lawn Soils

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

In the last article I talked about the advantages of clay lawn soil. I hope I presented a good case! Now, however, I need to talk to you about some of the disadvantages of clay lawn soil. I think you may see that some of the advantages are also disadvantages. Pretty cool how Mother Nature works isn’t it? So let’s look at clay lawn soil and talk about the negative side.

The biggest reason people don’t like clay lawn soil is the compaction that almost always occurs after the long, hot summer. Clay gets wet and pliable in the spring, and then dries out and hardens during summer heat. This is very similar to the process in which clay pots are formed by artisans. The moist clay is formed and then fired in an oven. The difference is that we are trying to grow some grass in our clay pots!

Another reason many people don’t like clay lawn soil is the fact that it does not drain well. If you have a low area in your lawn and it is primarily clay based, the water will be “standing” there for several days sometimes. Standing water presents lots of problems for the turf including root rot, fungal formation and crown degradation. In addition, standing water in the lawn becomes a breeding ground for biting insects like mosquitoes.

Lastly, clay soil does not contain any nutrients naturally. This means that you must fertilize a lawn that is clay based. If you don’t, your lawn will always be pale, thin and unhealthy. If you have a lawn that is growing in clay, you have to fertilize it regularly.

Can you see that I am playing both sides of the fence with you guys? The previous article talked about why clay soils are good, and now this one talks about why they are not so good… guess what is coming next?


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