fixing soil cracks

west9491(6)March 22, 2008

if you have cracks in your soil during the summer.....almost pure clay soil lol, what can you do to stop this? i read that these cracks can take away all your top dressed amendments?

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The earth is shifting just be glad it doesn't affect your house like it did with mine. True what amendments where on the cracks are now down the hole. Dry weather does that. Just keep on adding more to build it up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 3:04PM
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i guess this is kinda a good opportunity to incorporate OM n stuff on down into the soil.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 6:29PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It cracks because it is drying out.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:47PM
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crabjoe(z7 MD)

TO fix cracks in clay, just use more clay to fill in the cracks. :)

On the serious side, just keep adding more OM as top dressing. Eventually, the cracks will become less and less as the OM drops into the clay and mixed in to amend the clay. The amended clay will have much better moister holding abilities, which will help it from cracking.

Remember DON'T DO CRACK!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 8:47PM
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yeah, that's the answer i was thinkn myself.

oh yeah, what would trowin a lil saw dust shavings around do for the soil?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:38PM
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Clay soils with too little organic matter in them will "crack" as those soils dry out. The clay is shrinking, drawing away from other areas and the organic matter in the soil will help stop that.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 6:37AM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Your clay is probably low in calcium and magnesium. You might want to get a soil test and add the advised amount of dolomite lime, which has both. Calcium opens the soil and magnesium tightens it, so if the soil is off-balance, you need to fix that first. Then add organic matter.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 5:37PM
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it is low in calcium, but high in magnesium, i am treating that w/ calcitic lime.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:27PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

i got news for you, if you have the type of clay we have, it will take YEARS of amendmentts to fix it. the BEST way to keep clay soil from cracking in summer is to water often, and deep. my neighbor has the same soil as i do. his lawn does not crack during the summer, mines cracks to hell and back, and i mean that almost literally! last summer i ran a 1 1/2 hose for 20 minutes in one crack and it NEVER showed any signs of water building up. it hit the side and went down and down and down. how much do you think it would take to fill that ONE CRACK, and i have them everywhere and this was not one of the bigger ones. about the only thing i can say that is good about it is that my lawn does not flood during early summer rains like his does, it all just disappears!

if you wan tto amend the soil, you need to mix it 50/50 with sand and till it up to the desired depth for top soil. if you wan thte top soil 12" deep, put 6" of sand on top then till it all in together. you have to till it many times to work it out right. then compact it to minimize settling unevenly, then aerate to offset the compaction. then do it all over again in a year or two as the clay will still crack below grade and slowly swallow up the sandy loam you created. i know a family that brings in several truck loads of sand every other year and does this, and usually by late summer any areas that got a low dose of sand are back to clay. finally after about 10 years of doing this most of their yard has turned to topsoil and only requires organic additives now.

keep in mind that if you do organic/compost only, that will break down every year almost completely. that is why i say sand is the best additive.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 12:51AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

It's because it lacks enough fungi biomass. Add more brown stuff like leaves and fertilize with soybean meal to help fungi grow. You might have to apply compost that have good diversity of fungi species (leaf mold) and it should do the trick. Having a lawn and mowing really high like 4 inches will help alot to cool the ground during the summer.

I remember as a kid, we used to have all these cracks in the ground at my parents house during the summer. Now, it's pure gold stuff. How that happened? Most likely, mulching mower to mulch grass clippings and leaves. Of course we had to convince our dad to buy a lawnmower since he wasn't known for shelling out $$$.

We never used sand.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 8:51PM
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