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hard pan/clay soil? HELP!

hard pan/clay soil? HELP!
Posted by J.A. Werber from NY/7 on 2001-03-30 15:18:01

I'm on a hill but the street in back of me is higher yet, so everything drains my way. Adding to that the builder took the topsoil & left the hard pan & rocks/bolders. Don't know if that's the same as clay soil. All I know is that it ponds up & just sits there. Digging requires muscle man inc. There's a sunny spot on the South side of the house & I'd like to put a shrub & perennial bed there but don't know what will survive there. I love roses & they would get the sun but their wet feet? I'm forever fighting black spot & mildue on all my plants. I need hope & help.
  • hard pan/clay soil?
    Posted by Daryl from Ga/Zone 7 on 2001-04-03 16:39:06

    Quoting J.A. Werber: ------------
    -I'm on a hill but the street in back of me is higher yet, so everything drains my way. __

    If your house is new, I'd get the builder back to fix it. You may have to enlist the aid of the county planning and zoning board to force them into it.

    Adding to that the builder took the topsoil & left the hard pan & rocks/bolders. Don't know if that's the same as clay soil.
    No, clay soil has some organic matter in it, and usually drains, if slowly.

    All I know is that it ponds up & just sits there. _

    ... I'd like to put a shrub & perennial bed there but don't know what will survive there. I love roses & they would get the sun but their wet feet? __

    Black spot and mildew are usually caused by lack of air circulation and high humidity, but you'll need to correct the drainage to grow roses and most other perennials. You could try a raised bed, or hire someone to put in a french drain.
    Also, tell me if you're using a sprinkler to water. That can be a major cause of your black spot and mildew.



    • hard pan/clay soil? HELP!
      Posted by J.A.Werber from NY/7 on 2001-04-03 19:58:38

      Quoting Daryl: ------------
      -Quoting J.A. Werber: ------------
      -I'm on a hill but the street in back of me is higher yet, so everything drains my way. __

      -House is 50 years old. When the gutters were replaced they were redirected into the back yard on that side. I'm going to call those people back & have it redirected into the dry well. That should help. I do have a sprinker system that I can set the day & time for. Last summer I converted the part of the system that handled the flower beds to a drip system to help the plants & left the lawn the same. I live on Long Island & we do get high humidity in the summer. Nothing I can do about that. The idea of a raised bed sounds interesting. I, also, don't know how long the drip system should be on at any one time. The man told me an hour in the morning & an hour in the afternoon. It seems a lot to me, especially since my soil doesn't drain well. My established beds that have had years of adding mulch seem to fair better. Also, the neighborhood trees, that were sticks have grown up & new neighbors are using stockade fencing. Before I had the picket fence on one side & the chain link on the other side. In other words there was good air flow. Now people seem to want more privacy which boxes the yards in.

      -Adding to that the builder took the topsoil & left the hard pan & rocks/bolders. Don't know if that's the same as clay soil.
      -[No, clay soil has some organic matter in it, and usually drains, if slowly.]

      -How can I tell the difference between clay & hard pan, or in other words what I actually have?

      All I know is that it ponds up & just sits there. _

      ... I'd like to put a shrub & perennial bed there but don't know what will survive there. I love roses & they would get the sun but their wet feet? __

      -Black spot and mildew are usually caused by lack of air circulation and high humidity, but you'll need to correct the drainage to grow roses and most other perennials. You could try a raised bed, or hire someone to put in a french drain.
      -Also, tell me if you're using a sprinkler to water. That can be a major cause of your black spot and mildew.



      • Clay Soil
        Posted by Daryl from Ga/ Zone 7a on 2001-04-08 15:15:42

        -I'm going to call those people back & have it redirected into the dry well.__
        That should help.
        I do have a sprinker system that I can set the day & time for. __
        In general, with clay soil aim to have the sprinker ( or the drip system) put down enough water to reach a depth of 6-8 inches at once ( dig to be sure) and then don't water until it starts to dry out. That may be a week, or it may be longer, depending on the weather. Sprinkling is best done after the dew has fallen in the evening, and before it begins to dry in the morning. That way the plants won't be wet for any longer than they would be normally.

        Now people seem to want more privacy which boxes the yards in. _
        You're exactly right there! See what you can do about keeping your plants thinned so that what air there is can move through them. You may also want to consult an arborist about thinning the crowns of some of the trees, but that is more drastic.

        How can I tell the difference between clay & hard pan, or in other words what I actually have?__
        Dig a hole about a foot wide and deep. fill it with water. Let it drain. Fill again. If it takes more than a couple of hours to drain the second time, your drainage is likely too poor to support most plants. You can try breaking though any compacted layer below
        (hardpan). Sometimes, just breaking up the heavy clay can help.
        If that doesn't work, you may need to consider French Drains, or those raised beds, or both.



        • hard pan/clay soil? HELP!
          Posted by J.A. Werber from NY/7 on 2001-04-09 12:00:05

          Quoting Daryl: ------------
          -I'm going to call those people back & have it redirected into the dry well.__
          That should help.
          -I do have a sprinker system that I can set the day & time for. __
          -In general, with clay soil aim to have the sprinker ( or the drip system) put down enough water to reach a depth of 6-8 inches at once ( dig to be sure) and then don't water until it starts to dry out. That may be a week, or it may be longer, depending on the weather. Sprinkling is best done after the dew has fallen in the evening, and before it begins to dry in the morning. That way the plants won't be wet for any longer than they would be normally.

          Now people seem to want more privacy which boxes the yards in. _
          -You're exactly right there! See what you can do about keeping your plants thinned so that what air there is can move through them. You may also want to consult an arborist about thinning the crowns of some of the trees, but that is more drastic.

          -How can I tell the difference between clay & hard pan, or in other words what I actually have?__
          -Dig a hole about a foot wide and deep. fill it with water. Let it drain. Fill again. If it takes more than a couple of hours to drain the second time, your drainage is likely too poor to support most plants. You can try breaking though any compacted layer below
          (hardpan). Sometimes, just breaking up the heavy clay can help.
          -If that doesn't work, you may need to consider French Drains, or those raised beds, or both.



          Thank you! Now I'm going to try some of your suggestions. jaw

          clay soil

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