HomeNature5 Reasons Why You Should Add Clay Soil to Your Garden
5 Reasons Why You Should Add Clay Soil to Your Garden
Add Clay Soil to Your Garden
Clay is a thick, reddish soil, but it has a variety of nutrients. Some gardeners struggle with its thick texture and slow water absorption and avoid using it. But if you discover its usefulness and benefits as garden soil, you will be equipped to make it an asset in your garden. Here are some of the main reasons you need to put clay to work in your yard, as well as some tips for improving the soil.
1. Good water retention
Clay soil has fine particles. These tiny particles make it possible to retain water better than sandy or loamy soil. Water molecules stick close to the fine particles of the clay, giving it more water retention capacity among garden soils. Also, the fineness of the soil particles makes it possible for the clay to have a large surface area. The larger surface improves water retention. Water retention is good for certain plants that thrive well in clay soil, such as iris, heuchera, miscanthus, aster, and hosta.
2. Tolerance to drought
Clay soil offers good resistance to drought because it retains more water than other soil types. That’s why it keeps plants flourishing during the dry season. If you live in a tropical climate, having clay soil in your garden can preserve certain plants during a drought. Placing clay at the base of your garden beds can help plants with strong taproot systems thrive in dry weather.
3. High nutrient density
Fine particles of clay create a bond with important soil nutrients. Elements like potassium, magnesium, and calcium are usually trapped in clay soil. These nutrients provide plants with the building blocks for growth and strength. Minerals retained by the clay also prevent the soil from becoming too acidic and unhealthy for plant growth.
4. Prevents nutrient leakage
Nutrient leakage is a serious problem in some gardens. If your garden has sandy soil, there’s a greater probability of nutrient erosion. Putting clay soil at the base of the garden bed allows nutrients to stay in the soil, especially during the rainy season.
5. Clay suits certain plants
Clay is not as versatile as loamy soil. But some plants grow well on it.
If you have clay soil and you are wondering what to plant on it, consider any of these:
* Knobby club-rush
* Willow peppermint
* Long-leaf wax flower
* Tall sedge
* Red stemmed wattle
* Old man banksia
How to Improve Clay Soil
Although clay soil offers a lot of advantages, you may still have challenges while working with it. You can enjoy the full benefits of this soil once you know a few techniques for improving it. Here are some tips for enhancing the quality and performance of clay soil.
1. Add organic matter
If your clay soil is hard and difficult to manage, try adding organic matter. Mix in some compost, peat moss, woodback, or straw. Mixing organic waste with clay soil makes it harder for the soil to harden or clump together. It even makes the soil around your vegetables and trees easier to dig. Mixing compost into clay allows water to flow better through the soil and decreases clogging. Compost can also act as a source of fertilizer, slowly releasing beneficial nutrients for your plants.
2. Add Mulch
Some clay soils can increase water runoff on inclined landscapes. This happens when water is not absorbed quickly. Adding a few layers of tree bark, shredded wood, rough compost, or any organic mulch will prevent excessive water runoff. Effective mulching will also stop the clay from sticking to the base of your shoes while working in your garden. As the decomposition of the mulch occurs, it provides good plant nutrition and improves plant growth.
3. Manage your watering
Clay-rich soils can’t be watered carelessly. Over-watering of clay soils may lead to quick plant death. Since clay soils hold water for a long time, you should water them less often. If you see any spots that remain wet after several hours, it’s a sign that you are over-watering the plants. Each location or neighborhood has recommended watering rates.
You can get yours from your community garden center. Clay soil can be a blessing if you know how to use and manage it well in your garden. If you add some compost and mulch to it and water it carefully, clay can be one of the most useful elements to help your plants prosper.