How to manage clay soils

How to manage clay soils

How to manage clay soils

How to manage clay soils
Managing clay soils can be one of the biggest challenges for lawn lovers and you may be giving up on finding a solution! But dealing with clay soils doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom - clay soil is excellent at holding onto nutrients, and with the right seed and know-how, you can unlock its true potential!

The Clay Conundrum

You won’t have to look hard to find out if you have clay soil – your grass will be wet and boggy in winter and dry and cracked soil in summer, making it challenging for you to grow grass seed. If your new build home has been turfed and you suffer from clay soil, you’ll notice your grass start to turn yellow and die, as the turf is not designed to handle the clay soil your lawn is suffering from. Clay soil compacts easily, meaning store-bought seeds struggle to grow as they lack the rooting system required to break through the soil. Seedlings that do establish have their work cut out for them, contending with flooding in winter due to poor drainage and drought in summer brought about by the compact nature of the soil.

How To Prepare your clay soil for grass seed

Step one: Remove weeds & moss

Before rushing into sowing your seeds, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty pulling any weeds and freeing moss from the area. Using a rake, you can remove any patches of moss that have built up. When dealing with only a couple of weeds, you can try removing them by hand – if you find your lawn has become overwhelmed by unwanted guests, you can use our 3 in 1 Lawn rescue (on established lawns 6 months old) to quickly remove the weeds and moss, meaning you can get back to solving your clay conundrum!

Step two: Don't rake your soil. You'll wreck it!

Clay soil is hard and clumpy, meaning your rake won’t achieve much in the way of helping your seeds be in amongst your soil. Before setting out to rake it, grab a pitchfork and churn over your soil, doing so will break up all the lumps and bumps within, allowing you to rake your soil finally! For lawns larger than 100m2, you should consider hiring a rotavator to save time and do the job for you.

Step three: Level the playing field

Tackling clay soil can already be an uphill battle, so take the time to make your life easier! Levelling your lawn will help manage the water retention issues associated with clay soil and help your mowing routine. Taking the time to level your seedbed with high-quality topsoil will help your seedlings germinate when it comes time to sow them! Make sure to use topsoil and don’t skip corners by using compost, as it will break down overtime and cause your lawn to become unlevel again.

The correct seed for clay soil

Clay soils require special seedlings to achieve the perfect lawn, so we have created New Build Dream Lawn to handle whatever your clay soil throws at it! Tall fescues break through your clay soils thanks to their deep rooting system and add a drought tolerance to lawns prone to dryness. If your clay soil is also prone to shade, our Shade Supreme Lawn mix is tough enough to handle your soil conditions and will help fill those pesky patches!

Before and after image of someone using New Build Dream Lawn grass seed

Caring for your clay soil lawn

After taking steps to prepare the perfect seedbed and choosing the right seeds, the final issue you will face with your clay soil is drainage issues – here is how to fix this:

  • Aerate your lawn

Aeration is perfect for lawns suffering from clay soils! Poking holes or ‘pockets’ in your lawn allows it to breathe and creates openings for water, oxygen, and nutrients to flow freely. This helps the seeds access all the nutrients packed into the clay soil and will address the main conundrum of slow drainage. For more information, check out - How to aerate your lawn!

  • Feed your lawn

Feeding your lawn helps to keep it healthy!Aside from turning your lawn a lovely shade of green, clay soils' will benefit from the additional boost to drainage and root growth, helping in wet and dry conditions! For more information on how to feed your lawn, check out – How to use lawn food.

What to feed your lawn

We’ve taken the time to consider the needs of your lawn and carefully created different lawn food to help your grass get through the toughest of times – let’s take a look.

For sowing

Whether sowing a new lawn or overseeding an existing one, this is the perfect time to use our Pre-Seed First Feed to set your seed up with the best possible conditions for growth! The fast-acting nature of this lawn feed also means that it works perfectly for taking care of any patchiness when being used before overseeding.

For colour

Who doesn’t love colour? Especially when it can be Oh So Green. Doing exactly what it says, this quick-fix feed acts fast over 6 weeks to give your lawn that much-needed boost of colour so you can show it off to any last-minute guests, leaving them green with envy! This mix also works perfectly for giving your lawn the extra protection it needs in the summer months to withstand the extreme heat.

For maintenance

Ideally, regardless of soil type, you should be feeding your lawn twice a year using a longer-lasting feed to provide your lawn with long-term protection. The best way to do this is by applying your first feed during the spring using our All Summer Long mix to keep your lawn green and healthy throughout summer. Then, apply your second feed during autumn using our Winter Remedy mix to help your lawn stay protected when the colder weather kicks in. Both feeds act over 4 months, keeping your lawn lush all year round! Your lawn is considered dormant between November and February, so it is best to give it a break in-between times as growth almost reaches a standstill.

For the naturals

If you want to go natural, our All Natural Nutriboost keeps things simple. An all-organic feed that can be used all year round and is safe for kids and pets. This mix will provide your lawn with all the benefits of the others, just with organic ingredients!

If you’re still wondering what you should feed your lawn, check out – How to choose the best lawn food.