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Old 22-02-2012, 08:28 AM
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My name is Robert and im a keen gardener from Wales ! !

Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way we can get down to business !
My question to you is this - If i want to plant shrubs , plants and flowers in soil which is clay then how do i first of all prepare the ground ?

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Old 22-02-2012, 10:12 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 22/02/2012 08:28, RobertM wrote:
My name is Robert and im a keen gardener from Wales ! !

Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way we can get down
to business !
My question to you is this - If i want to plant shrubs , plants and
flowers in soil which is clay then how do i first of all prepare the
ground ?


Depends on the plants you want to grow. If you choose things that
actually like a clay soil then you don't have to do very much at all.

Clay is fertile enough - just not very good at drainage. You can often
grow acid loving plants in it too with only minor adjustments.

I have a pretty heavy clay soil and most shrubs grow fine on it.

It is asking for trouble growing things that want well drained sandy
soil and you will have to work hard improving the soil texture and
adding lots of compost, sand and grit (and/or raised beds on a slope).
My asparagus bed is something of a joke although we do get some...

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
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Old 22-02-2012, 02:34 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 22/02/2012 10:12, Martin Brown wrote:
On 22/02/2012 08:28, RobertM wrote:
My name is Robert and im a keen gardener from Wales ! !

Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way we can get down
to business !
My question to you is this - If i want to plant shrubs , plants and
flowers in soil which is clay then how do i first of all prepare the
ground ?


Depends on the plants you want to grow. If you choose things that
actually like a clay soil then you don't have to do very much at all.


That is very true. The problem with trying to work clay is that you can
only do it a couple of days every year - at other times it's too wet or
too dry! If it's wet, everything clings to the tool; if it's dry, you
can't get a tool into it - even a rotavator will ride over the surface.

Clay is fertile enough - just not very good at drainage. You can often
grow acid loving plants in it too with only minor adjustments.


I had a blueberry grow, .and fruit reasonably well, in clay soil (pH
around 6) for several years.

I have a pretty heavy clay soil and most shrubs grow fine on it.

It is asking for trouble growing things that want well drained sandy
soil and you will have to work hard improving the soil texture and
adding lots of compost, sand and grit (and/or raised beds on a slope).
My asparagus bed is something of a joke although we do get some...


One thing often recommended to "improve" clay is gypsum. Not only is a
fair amount needed, and repeat application necessary every couple of
years, but with gypsum chalk is being added and any lime-haters happy in
clay will not like the "improvement" at all.

--

Jeff
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Old 22-02-2012, 02:58 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On Wed, 22 Feb 2012 08:28:06 +0000, RobertM wrote:

My name is Robert and im a keen gardener from Wales ! !

Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way we can get down
to business !
My question to you is this - If i want to plant shrubs , plants and
flowers in soil which is clay then how do i first of all prepare the
ground ?


There's a FAQ about clay soil but don't use FAQ as a search term as it's
not called a FAQ for some bizarre reason. IIRC it's called a welcome and
the link to the FAQs are in the body.
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Old 22-02-2012, 05:26 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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"RobertM" wrote


My name is Robert and im a keen gardener from Wales ! !

Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way we can get down
to business !
My question to you is this - If i want to plant shrubs , plants and
flowers in soil which is clay then how do i first of all prepare the
ground ?


As others have said, clay holds on to nutrients and therefor is normally a
fertile soil. It's just a pain for the gardener. Clay can be and often is
acid, my allotment with a Thames clay/silt soil is about pH5.5 (neutral is
pH7) and I grow blueberries. If you want to improve it for shrubs then dig
in lots of organic material, well rotted horse manure (or swan, don't ask)
with sawdust is an excellent breaker up of clay IME but it must be well
rotted and must be incorporated well too. First I would check the pH to see
what you have and go from there depending on what you want to grow, if you
do incorporate lots of organic material that will affect the pH too, so keep
checking. One point that I must stress is that you have to pick the right
moment to work a clay soil as regards moisture.
--
Regards. Bob Hobden.
Posted to this Newsgroup from the W of London, UK



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Old 22-02-2012, 07:35 PM
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Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?
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Old 22-02-2012, 09:38 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On Wed, 22 Feb 2012 19:35:41 +0000, RobertM wrote:

Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?


I can do no better than to point you again to the FAQ (Frequently Asked
Questions) gypsum and coarse grit seem to be the best bets.
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Old 23-02-2012, 10:04 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 02/22/2012 03:34 PM, Jeff Layman wrote:
One thing often recommended to "improve" clay is gypsum. Not only is a
fair amount needed, and repeat application necessary every couple of
years, but with gypsum chalk is being added and any lime-haters happy in
clay will not like the "improvement" at all.


Agreed on all counts. I'll add that gypsum is great stuff even for
heavy cloddy clay soil that's been improved with lots of organic matter,
it really helped get a finer tilth in our veg patch. Cheap in 50 kg
bags at the farmers supply.

-E
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Old 23-02-2012, 10:20 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 02/22/2012 08:35 PM, RobertM wrote:
Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?



It's possible but not easy. The problem is getting the maple
established. You need to plant in a raised mound of well mixed local
soil and free draining compost; raised to prevent the maple from
drowning in the clay bowl. (You can try doing this with all clay but
there is only a small chance it will live). You need to water for
several years as it's almost like a container. You may need to help the
maple roots penetrate the surrounding clay.

You need to select a very tough cultivar, or use seed grown plants.

Still interested?

There are other options from the maple world. A. rufinerve (a small
snakebark maple with pretty fall colours) seems to resist clay pretty
well. A. campestre (e.g. 'Carnival') will do well enough.

Funny I just looked in Hillier's under "clay soil" and they list "Acer
(all)"; so I guess there's a difference between "clay soil" and "clay."
Which are you?

-E
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Old 24-02-2012, 11:38 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Martin Brown wrote in news:Ub31r.1596
:

My asparagus bed is something of a joke although we do get some...


Mine is a joke too, in lightish soil. The plants cost enough also!
I just love asparagus fresh from the garden but what a project in time and
labour for a few mangy spears.
A friend of mine inherited a row when he took on his allotment, clay soil
and never does anything for them, just weeds when overgrown. Bonemeal in
November thats it. Gives them away in May and June, too many to eat.
It's enough to make you feel ill isn't it.

Baz


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Old 24-02-2012, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emery Davis[_4_] View Post
On 02/22/2012 08:35 PM, RobertM wrote:
Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?



It's possible but not easy. The problem is getting the maple
established. You need to plant in a raised mound of well mixed local
soil and free draining compost; raised to prevent the maple from
drowning in the clay bowl. (You can try doing this with all clay but
there is only a small chance it will live). You need to water for
several years as it's almost like a container. You may need to help the
maple roots penetrate the surrounding clay.

You need to select a very tough cultivar, or use seed grown plants.

Still interested?

There are other options from the maple world. A. rufinerve (a small
snakebark maple with pretty fall colours) seems to resist clay pretty
well. A. campestre (e.g. 'Carnival') will do well enough.

Funny I just looked in Hillier's under "clay soil" and they list "Acer
(all)"; so I guess there's a difference between "clay soil" and "clay."
Which are you?

-E
I believe it is clay soil although I'm not really sure how to tell the difference !
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Old 24-02-2012, 06:23 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 22/02/2012 19:35, RobertM wrote:
Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?




Japanese Maples should be okay in improved clay (reasonable drainage
with good compost added), but if you follow the gypsum route then I'd
advise against it.

Japanese Maples also require some shade from the sun and shelter from
wind, as their natural environment is woodland, so you would also need
to provide these. I have a small Acer palmatum in my woodland garden on
clay and it is still struggling despite having a fair amount of shelter.

--
Spider
from high ground in SE London
gardening on clay
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Old 24-02-2012, 09:36 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On Fri, 24 Feb 2012 17:58:58 +0000, RobertM
wrote:

I believe it is clay soil although I'm not really sure how to tell the
difference !


Have a look at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basic...oursoil1.shtml
and
http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg/...l_types1.shtml

to help you with the soil type stuff.

Cheers, Jake
=======================================
Urgling happily from the dryer end of Swansea Bay.
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Old 24-02-2012, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider[_3_] View Post
On 22/02/2012 19:35, RobertM wrote:
Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?




Japanese Maples should be okay in improved clay (reasonable drainage
with good compost added), but if you follow the gypsum route then I'd
advise against it.

Japanese Maples also require some shade from the sun and shelter from
wind, as their natural environment is woodland, so you would also need
to provide these. I have a small Acer palmatum in my woodland garden on
clay and it is still struggling despite having a fair amount of shelter.

--
Spider
from high ground in SE London
gardening on clay
How do you prepare the soil for suitable drainage ?
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Old 25-02-2012, 12:26 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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On 02/24/2012 07:23 PM, Spider wrote:
On 22/02/2012 19:35, RobertM wrote:
Thank you for your help guys, i read that it would be best to dig over
the garden and mix in mulch . . . . is that the correct thing to do ?

Also , would a Japanese Maple grow well in clay ?




Japanese Maples should be okay in improved clay (reasonable drainage
with good compost added), but if you follow the gypsum route then I'd
advise against it.


Although neutral to slightly acid soil is best for A. palmatum (which I
guess is what we're talking about) unless the soil gets very alkaline
with the gypsum it would be OK, right? Will gypsum really raise the pH
that much?

Japanese Maples also require some shade from the sun and shelter from
wind, as their natural environment is woodland, so you would also need
to provide these. I have a small Acer palmatum in my woodland garden on
clay and it is still struggling despite having a fair amount of shelter.


Many will do fine in full sun. Wind shelter is more important,
especially if there are salt winds or cold winter winds. But actually
they are surprisingly resilient plants., and most of mine do OK in full
wind/sun. Especially compared to some of the other maples I grow. Groan.


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