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Re: clay soil was: bermudagrass wars

You're right, Kitty, clay soil does get a bad rap.  I complain about
it enough, but, actually, a good bit of it is very rich soil; high
minerals and trace elements.  The only real problem with clay soil -
and that does vary, depending on what kind of clay soil it is - is
that it is composed very fine particles which leave little room for
air spaces; make it hold water longer and when wet, lose it's
character if worked....that's why bricks are made of clay and
pottery, too.  When it's dry, it becomes hard as a rock - impossible
to work.  The window of time when high content clay soils can be
worked without serious damage to their structure is not large.

All clay soil needs is organic material - pretty massive amounts of
it - and it becomes pretty durn good soil for plants.  Grit is also
good to add, but only in conjunction with organic material so you
don't create concrete:-)

I think the reason we all moan about it is because it is not easy for
us to work with, however, many, many plants love it (witness all the
nice, thriving weeds on my property) and some, like roses, Mazus and
Brunnera actually seem to prefer clay to more highly organic but
faster drying soils.  I dream of sandy soil, but would probably bitch
like mad if I had it because it dries out fast and does not retain
nutrients well....

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: Kitty <kmrsy@comcast.net>
> Well, I was just guessing.  Actually clay gets a bad rap.  It's not
> that bad.  When someone says they have no clay - that's really not
> good.  If you take a look at a soil pyramid

> clay plays a part in more than half the area.  Clay helps to retain
> and improves cation exchange.  As regards the texture of the soil:
> "Texture refers to the composition of the strata according to the
USDA soil
> pyramid, which classifies soils based on percentages of sand, clay
and silt.
> A loam has roughly equal amounts of sand, silt and clay. A clayey
silt is
> predominantly silt with some clay, but may also contain sand, etc."
> So if you have a nice loam soil, you do indeed have some clay.  The
clay you
> reaaly don't want is blue.
> Kitty

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