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RE: Amending clay soil / plants struggling (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: gardengal48 on 11.07.2013 at 03:36 pm in California Gardening Forum

Try not to add compost to individual planting holes. Not only is it not recommended for non-clay soils, it is highly inclined to reduce drainage in a heavy clay soil regardless of how carefully you attempt it.

Raised beds filled with imported soils is about the easiest way to deal with clay. If you don't wish to go to the effort or expense of constructed raised beds, you can achieve the same effect by simply mounding the soil or creating berms. Not only does this negate the poor drainage eeffects of the clay and make it easy to plant but it gives a garden some contour and dimension as well.

If you must plant into the clay, then dig a very wide but shallow planting hole - 2-3 times the diameter of the root ball and with roughened sides. Place the plant in the hole so that 1/3 to 1/2 the root ball is above grade. Backfill with the removed soil (breaking it up as much as possible) and them use compost or your mulch of choice to mound up to the top of the planting hole, creating a small mound. The very wide and shallow planting hole will help with proper drainage and roughening up the sides will help the plant roots penetrate into the clay. Actually, roots are one of the best methods of loosening a clay soil - the more you plant, the better your soil will become, especially when you mulch routinely as well.

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clipped on: 03.02.2014 at 01:10 pm    last updated on: 03.02.2014 at 01:21 pm