- Test soil pH, and adjust as necessary. Clay soils are rich in nutrients, but if the soil is too acidic or too alkaline, those nutrients won’t be available to the plants.
- Add organic matter. This helps improve drainage and lighten heavy soil.
- Build raised beds.
- Mulch beds over the winter.
- Plant a cover crop.
How do you break down clay soil?
Cover with Organic Material
Cover areas of clay soil with slower composting materials such as bark, sawdust or ground wood chips. Use these organic materials for mulch, and, as they break down, they will work themselves into the soil below.
What can you do with clay soil?
The best way to improve clay soils is to mix organic materials thoroughly with existing soil, explained Brewer. Bark, sawdust, manure, leaf mold, compost and peat moss are among the organic amendments commonly used to improve clay soil.
What can I add to clay soil to improve drainage?
Adding materials such as organic compost, pine bark, composted leaves and gypsum to heavy clay can improve its structure and help eliminate drainage and compaction problems. Avoid adding sand or peat moss to clay; they can make those problems worse.
How much compost do I add to clay soil?
For mulching, spread 1-3 inches of compost on beds in fall or spring. As a soil amendment before planting new beds, use 1-3 inches of compost dug or tilled into the soil. (Use 3 inches to improve sandy soils, or 1-2 inches for heavy clay soils). Size of area to mulch or amend (sq. ft.)