Clay soil holds excess water and compacts easily, making it not easy to grow anything. However, with proper treatment and care, you can still have a beautiful lawn on your clay ground.
To help you with that, today, I am happy to show you how to grow grass in clay soil through a few important factors.
When you treat the soil correctly, you can grow almost any type of grass in clay soil. However, these are three of the best types to choose for clay soil.
This grass is great for those who want an emerald green lawn. It also tends to grow well in clay soil thanks to its root system that generates deep rhizomes.
It’s worth noting that traditional Bermuda grass does not thrive at lower temperatures, so you can only choose it if you live in a warmer climate. However, you can still find newer kinds viable for clay soil such as Midiron and U-3.
Tall Fescue Grass
This type of grass is ideal for clay soil. Unlike Bermuda grass, it’s suitable for cooler weather, so you cannot grow this grass somewhere with a lot of hot weather.
Tall fescue grass can grow large but you can find varieties with finer blades, including turf-type and dwarf turf-type. Compared with other cool-season types of grass, this one has a root system that reaches deeper into the soil, making it a great option for clay soil.
If you are looking for a type of grass that can withstand drought, you should consider getting this one. It’s good for warm seasons but doesn’t grow from November to January. In March or April, it will get green again.
This type of grass features a deep root system allowing it to grow well when planted in clay soil.
Preparing The Clay Soil
Test The Soil Density
First of all, you need to test the density of your clay soil. To do this, you need to scoop half a cup of the soil and soak it with some drops of water, then make it a ball in your hands.
If the clay ball breaks at one inch, it’s silt. If it breaks at 2 inches, it’s clay loam. If more, it’s heavy clay. The point of the test is to help you figure out the best treatment for the soil before planting grass.
Treat The Soil
After you’re done testing, the next step is to provide some treatment.
You need to turn the soil over and improve its structure and tilth. Having good tilth will help enhance the root penetration to improve the viability of growing grass seeds.
As you are turning the soil over, combine it with organic materials. You should add some animal manure, coarse sand, gypsum, road base stones, and a lot of compost.
During the summer, remember to keep the clay moistened with heavy mulch to prevent it from hardening.
After treating the soil, you need to test it again to see if it has had enough organic matter. If it has received the right treatment, it will not form a long ribbon when you press it between your index finger and thumb.
If it still forms a ribbon over 1-inch-long, you need to spread it and add a second organic compost layer. Wait for the compost to be absorbed into the soil and change its composition then test again.
Prepare For Grass Seed
To do this, you need to rip the soil up at about 350-450 millimeters to break up compacted soil and make sure the grassroots can develop adequately. Keep in mind that you must rip organic matter completely and blend it carefully into the topsoil. The same rule is applied to chemical supplements.
Now, after all the hard work you’ve done in treating and preparing the clay soil, you can finally plant the grass. Follow these steps to start planting your lawn.
Step 1: Measure the area where you will plant the seeds and calculate how many seeds you will need. The number of seeds is also determined based on the type of grass and the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Step 2: The total amount of seeds must be divided into 2 parts to be applied in the seeding area. Spread one half over the area, you need to use a broadcast spreader and walk in a vertical line.
Spread the other half as you walk horizontally for even coverage. After that, you need to use a lawn roller and roll the area with water. Add a thin straw mulch on top.
To make sure your grass lawn grows well on the clay ground, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Cut the grass to 6-8 centimeters of height, which will promote growth, discourage pests, and prevent weeds.
Water the lawn deeply, about 2.5 centimeters, and water once a week at most.
Fertilize the lawn and leave grass clipping on the lawn to add more nutrients.
It’s ideal to aerate compacted soil in the fall, which makes it easier to air, water, and nutrients to reach the root.
Check the lawn regularly and watch out for pests among other problems.
Through this post, I hope that you have understood how to grow grass in clay soil. As this type of soil is harder to grow, you will need to make an extra effort before planting anything, but all the hard work will be paid off, so don’t hesitate.
I have shown you how to prepare the clay soil along with a step-by-step guide on planting grass seed. If you have further questions regarding planting in clay soil, I would be happy to help out.