Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
We live in Riverton with heavy clay soil. Will gypsum pellets help the soil so water does not run off so much? Can gypsum be applied on top of existing grass? In soil flower beds? In vegetable gardens? Is Utelite better than gypsum? Thank you.
Rate This FAQ
Heavy clay soil presents problems to homeowners because its structure is so tight and dense. When clay soil has very little organic matter content, the pore spaces within the soil are very small. Rainfall and/or sprinkler water penetrates the soil very slowly and percolates downward very slowly. Thus, the water infiltration rate is usually much slower than any sprinkler application rate.
Gypsum may be used to help flocculate clay in muddy ponds, but it isn't terribly effective at improving water infiltration rates in clay soil.
Here is an excerpt of a website explaining the effects of gypsum on caliche (clay soil high in calcium), found at : http://www.wtamu.edu/~crobinson/DrDirt/gypsum.html
"Gypsum is a salt - calcium sulfate - and when added to calcareous clay soils (the typical high calcium soil in Colorado), does no more than increase the already high calcium content. Thus, gypsum + calcareous clay = gypsum + calcareous clay. In other words, adding gypsum to a soil that does not need calcium is a waste of money. Also avoid adding gypsum to a saline soil (soil high in salts). Gypsum increases salt levels."
The best way to improve soil structure is to add high quality organic matter, like compost. This is more practical in garden beds than in the lawn. Add up to 4 inches of compost and incorporate it to a depth of 8 inches. Avoid using un-composted manures since they will raise salt levels.
In the lawn, aerate twice annually. After core aeration, topdress with high quality organic matter, such as peat moss or compost. During the growing season, mow with a mulching mower to return clippings to the soil; this will help increase organic matter.
To help improve irrigation water infiltration and avoid runoff, cycle the irrigation . Apply a small amount of water (about one-quarter inch or less) during the first cycle, then repeat after one to four hours, then repeat again after one to four more hours. By cycling the irrigation this way, you will allow water to percolate deeper into the soil. Vary the frequency of irrigation days according to the season and weather conditions. During spring, irrigate only every 10 to 14 days. During summer, increase irrigation frequency to about every 5 days. Clay soil holds water much longer than sandy or sandy loam, so you can irrigate less frequently.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- What are the best cures for fungus type lawn diseases. We've tried infrequent deeper watering, which makes it worse, higher mowing in the hotter months, airation shoes, and everthing else suggested. We know we have clay under the topsoil.
- How can I attract hummingbirds to my yard?
- What are the best shade trees to plant in syracuse? Is it true that if they are fast growing they tend to break easily? Is that common or am I worrying to much about that?
- Reveille grass seed. How good is this type of seed for the West Jordan area(Oquirrh shadows area)?
- We planted a new yard with several pine trees this last Fall - including sub-alpine, a young cedar, douglas fir, and a couple of sequioa .... along with the traditional small conifer bushes. With the recent wind and the sensitivies of the sub-alpines and sequoia I wanted to be sure that I fertilized, etc., a needed (watered them a little today due to strong winds).
- I have a good number of my lawn customers that have a large amount of burmuda grass coming into their bluegrass lawns. I have use for 3 years a product call turflon ester, A Monterey product, containing Triclopyr at 61.6% at up to double the rate. I have been applying 3 applications per season with a backpack sprayer to spot spray the patches in the bluegrass. I am disappointed in my results. Please reply as to what to do to eradicate this problem as I think that is is very critical. I see it in most of the approx. 70 lawns that I treat. Where is it coming from??
- When is the best time to seed native grasses such as streambank and western wheatgrass into an existing Kentucky Bluegrass lawn? Some of what I've read leads me to believe that it would be best to seed in late fall so the seed will germinate in the spring. But I wonder if it would be better to seed in early fall after stressing the KBG. I will also be seeding sheep fescue, but I've seen conflicting information on whether that is native or introduced. My goal is to have a lawn that can survive with no water, and stay green with very little water.
- What Are Those Large Round Fungus Balls That Appeared In My Lawn Last Summer?