SoilGardening

Eliminating Standing Water Due to Clay Soils

I have standing water problem in the middle of my yard. There is about 2 to 3 inches of soil and the rest is clay. How do I fix this problem with losing the farm.

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By over my head from IL

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Anonymous
July 15, 20100 found this helpful

I am also from IL. I had the same problem, so every fall when I would rake leaves, I would till them into the low spots. It helps with drainage and helps fill in the low spots.

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July 16, 20100 found this helpful

We have heavy clay soils in PA, too. I used to have a huge apple tree, tall like an old oak. The apples weren't good, but I tilled them into the soil every year. Another "fix" I've used is to add sand, peat, and topsoil, then till. If you're gardening in the area, you can also add horse manure for fantastic results (I grow gourds). With either method, the amount of topsoil increases and drainage improves markedly. Good luck! --shoe

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May 12, 20190 found this helpful

I'm glad that this worked for you, but wanted to offer a caution to anyone before taking this advice: DON'T add sand to clay soil, unless you're add more a ratio of more sand to the clay. You're filling up the already small spaces between the clay particles with something that basically turns it into rock-hard concrete.

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I have read of instances of adding it in discrete patches (e.g., digging deep holes and filling them with sharp sand) or using other similar substances, but just mixing it in with clay is a recipe for disaster. At least on the West Coast.

See, e.g., www.finegardening.com/.../improving-clay-soils (recommends cover crops, compost, and mulch, and disturbing the soil as infrequently as possible, especially when very wet or dry. Specific cautions against clay: "[t]his is a very risky business unless the sand (often incorporated as much as 50:50 by volume) is a very sharp sand . . ."

But see contra www.gardenmyths.com/.../ (some benefits of sand)

Dunno. Clay soil sucks!

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