If you want to learn how to improve clay soil for lawns, I suggest you listen to everything I’m about to tell you.
I have dealt with the headaches of establishing a healthy lawn on clay soil. And trust me, it is on fun!
Suppose you fold your hands and do nothing. In that case, your lawn WILL be susceptible to the host of undesirable problems that come with clay —like poor drainage, scanty availability of nutrients, poor color, compaction, prone to fungus, weeds, moss, root stunt, and stress.
So how did I do it? How are competent landscapers and gardeners becoming so invariably successful working with clay soils?
Here is the catch:
If you can improve the clay condition, you can improve the lawn. It is that simple.
And one surefire way to do it is by injecting CRAZY doses of organic matter into the soil. There are other strategies, but I will explain why this works excellently.
How To Improve Clay Soil For Lawns
Most experienced gardeners will tell you, ‘avoid heavy traffic on the lawn during wet weather, utilize proper fertilization, low irrigation rates, and drainage.’
All of these would work. But you can save yourself the hassle by simply using these two methods:
- Lots of organic matter
- Aerify PLUS ( for a faster solution)
I am a huge fan of quick fixes, but one that actually gets results.
And I can assure you that both strategies will reward your land with dark and crumbly (clay) soil over 1½ feet deep with happy earthworms —just like they did with mine.
So without wasting much of your time, let me tell you why they would work.
Lots Of Organic Matter
Ask any green thumbs or homeowners who have had success with clay soil, and they will tell you organic matter was a huge part of their success.
It is the best and most budget-friendly way to strike live in your poor clay. It is like the magic elixir for all soil problems.
You mix loads of organic matter, such as peat moss, compost, leaves, etc., into the soil. Then let it do its work.
It might take a while, but it will improve soil aeration and drainage and encourage beneficial soil microbes that convert the organic matter into humus, which then granulate the soil structure.
If it is an existing lawn that is suffocating from the clay, you can till in organic matter that deep.
Instead, topdress the lawn with compost, fertilize organically, leave the clippings, and be patient.
You will have to wait for the organic matter to decompose and improve the soil, which takes a lot of time.
And the denser the clay soil, the longer it will take —most gardeners who have gone through the waiting circle say it takes two-plus years.
Personally, I haven’t waited that long because I always till and integrate the organics.
But it is time-consuming when top-dressed because the soil microbes responsible for decomposing these organic matters are ‘aerobic.’
It means they need oxygen for survival. And as we know, clay’s compact nature will make life difficult for them, considering it has very tiny air space.
The wait will definitely pay off!
It is only a matter of time before your clay starts teaming with life.
The organic matter will invite earthworms to the party who will tunnel and help with the porosity of the soil.
There will be a free flow of oxygen to the plant roots. It will also help in drainage and preventing fungus and rot from growing. Gradually, your clay will turn into a loamy consistency.
For those antsy homeowners who think ‘the patient dog might die,’ a faster solution like Aerify Plus is what you need.
This penetrant is probably one of the fastest ways to increase the amount of air and encourage beneficial soil-building microbes by creating pores and channels in the clay.
I have tried this product and can vouch it is a REAL difference maker.
Aerify Plus is a liquid soil Aerator and a Bioactivator.
Its job is to tear apart the clay bonds, creating tiny air space within the soil.
Aside from that, it deploys and feeds beneficial soil microbes, which improves drainage, makes nutrients abundant, moves organic matter deeper, and encourages deeper rooting.
And by uplifting the clay’s structure into a more bioactive soil, your lawn can thrive and be healthier.
NOTE: as your lawn clay opens up, it welcomes earthworms in masses.
I love to call them (the earthworms) “enhancer.” They help accelerate the soil improvement process since they aerate by tunneling up and down.
In addition, they digest the organic matter and convert them into humus and rich, fertile castings.
However, you can settle for other products if you can’t get Aerify Plus since it is not as common as other liquid aeration.
I would also suggest Bio Stimulant. They are categorized as liquid aeration since they behave alike.
Bio Stimulant also loosens soil particles and boosts nutrients along with the flow of water. They are versatile and can be applied throughout the growing season.
Yard Mastery is the go-to place for a wide selection of Bio Stimulant.
To sum it up, using Aerify Plus (or other liquid aeration) and lots of organic matter improves clay soil for lawns.
It is what I used in treating my barren clay —organically. Sometimes, I top-dressed with kitchen leftovers.
Don’t panic if your clay may remain gray and sticky underneath after a couple of months. It did happen to me.
It is, in many ways, a game of patience.
But after I broke out the Aerify PLUS a couple of seasons, it was as though all the organic matters and compost I have been investing in finally answered my prayers.
At the time of writing this article, my lawn is already lying on a dark, crumbly clay soil filled with life.