Ask & Share: Landscaping and Hardscaping
Question

My yard is mainly clay-fill dirt. Would lime break the clay down to arable soil?

Reply
The yard is old clay-fill dirt, and is swampy during the rainy season. I just want the dirt to support a lawn of some type (crabgrass would be fine) to avoid erosion, and provide some better drainage. I have a driveway level with the yard, so adding a lot of topsoil is not really an option.

3 Replies

  • National Gardening Association
    Lime can be used to adjust the pH of your soil, if necessary, to make it less acidic, but it won't improve your clay soil otherwise. A soil test will tell you if you need to adjust the pH or add other nutrients to support good grass growth. But as far as improving the tilth of the soil, the best thing you can do is add organic matter such as compost regularly. This will improve its drainage and aeration, making it easier to work, and encourage the beneficial soil organisms that are the foundation of healthy soil. Working several inches of compost into the soil before planting your lawn will help. If your yard gets truly swampy, however, the way to fix this is through changing drainage patterns by adding swales or drain tiles to carry excess water away. You might consider planting a rain garden in a section of your yard. A rain garden is a low area planted with plants that can take wet or dry conditions that collects and holds runoff until it soaks into the ground.

    Posted 1 year ago

    Zone: 5a
    Flag this Reply
  • National Gardening Association
    Most State Extension Services offer soil testing for a very reasonable fee. This link will tell you how to contact your local office: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html. Check out this info from NGA on rain gardens: http://www.garden.org/regional/report/arch/4208. Your state Extension Service may also have publications on rain gardens specific to your part of the country.

    Posted 1 year ago

    Zone: 5a
    Flag this Reply
  • Lynn_Coulter
    Get a compost pile going, and when the compost is ready, you can mix it into that clay to improve your drainage. If you have a lot of trees, run over the leaves in the fall with a mulching blade on your mower and add them to the pile. Add kitchen scraps, too, and any grass clippings. You'll be surprised how fast the pile builds up.

    Posted 1 year ago

    Zone: 8a
    Flag this Reply
See All
Discussions About Landscape and Hardscape