Well draining soil

contrary_grow(7b)July 3, 2008

This is a dumb question, I'm sure, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Can clay on a hillside be considered well draining soil?



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
angelcub(Sunset 3b)

If you really want to know for your particular hillside you'll need to dig a hole at least a foot deep, fill it with water and time how long it takes to drain. Usually well draining soil will drain in about an hour or two on a hillside. When I had clay soil in my last garden it could take hours to drain. No hillside, though. Here I have plenty of hillsides, sandy/rocky soil and it can drain in 20 minutes if it's not amended.

And no, it's not a dumb question. : )


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nell Jean


Here's what Walter Reeves said in his column on making well drained soil:

"I was explaining to someone recently that flowering cherry trees absolutely require well-drained soil to succeed. "Well, thatÂs not a problem," they responded, "IÂm planting on a slope, so water drains right past it."

"Sloping soil is usually poorly drained," I replied. "Your cherry will be dead in a year if you plant it on that eroded clay bank."

It is important to distinguish between surface drainage and soil drainage.

Water inevitably flows down hill. That is surface drainage. Soil drainage, though, is what happens to moisture when it soaks through the earth around a plantÂs roots."

He goes on to tell how to amend the soil, here's the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Walter on Soil Amending

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thinman(Z5 MI)

Hi, Nell. I read his article. Do you know what he means by "soil conditioner"? I can't remember seeing a product with that name.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 7:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
natalie4b(7b GA)

Soil conditioner sometimes called Nature's Helper.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thinman(Z5 MI)

Thanks, Nell. It appears to be sold in the south, but not in my neck of the woods.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
a2zmom(6a - nj)

Mary, I have fairly heavy clay soil. For plants that like poor soil (achillea, lavender), I do a mix of half clay, half sand. For those that need good soil that is sharp draining I do 1/3 clay, 1/3 composted manure, 1/3 sand.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 6:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the good advice. I sort of thought that just planting in clay wouldn't be the best idea no matter where it was located. But I wasn't even thinking about surface drainage. I just thought that water wouldn't last in clay on a hillside like it does on a flat surface.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nell Jean

I think the soil conditioner that Mr. Reeves mentioned might be something like gypsum. I never added anything to red clay in No. GA except compost of some kind. If you mix GA clay with sand, you frequently get cement.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 9:01PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
reminder of spring
post your spring pics from last year This post was...
davids10 z7a nv.
Just a little test post -
I'm trying to see how the new posting works. First,...
ThinMan Z5 MI
Blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis)
This is my attempt to post. This is a plant I haven't...
An Irish Cottage Garden.
Not my own Irish Cottage Garden this time,..i have...
Introduction! (plus a question about gaura)
Hello, all! I'm new to the forum, but have been gardening...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™