How should I heal some barren hard clay soil?
I am having some 12 foot tall photinia bushes cut down because, I do not this is an attractive plant. We as also trying open up the back yard. There is a dog run in our yard about a 20 X 45ish area. The bushes are there to block the chain link fence. This whole set up was here when we moved in. The chain link fence is coming down too. It is being free cycled.
Anyway, due to the shade, these tall bushes created soil that is barren of life. It is dry hard clay. I live in noth central texas. A little further away from the hard clay is some short weeds then a typical wooden privacy fence. The soil is also doing poorly since I kept stealing leaves from under the bushes for mulch since I knew the bushes where coming down and the bushes would not need them anymore. I forgot about the soil. I am new to all this. Plus, I had no other source of mulch as it was winter and the garden beds needed some mulch. Sometimes I walk down to the park and gather some oak leaves, but these break down so slow, soI don't do that much now.
Here is the question part.
I was first thinking to plant some native grass there, and in the fall some easy to grow wild flowers. I have started to read gaias garden, and he talked about pioneer plants, got me to thinking. But not sure what plants are pioneer and native. I do not want to disturb the soil and I would prefer to plant native seeds. But due to the hard soil do you think the soil would need a bit of raking to loosen things up, or would that do more harm thatn good? I am at a bit of a loss on how to proceed.
I like purple three awn grass after I saw it growing in a field on a walk. I was told bermuda graa will take over buffaloo grass, so I guess that is out. I was thinking sunflowers would grow there where not much else would.
I was thinking this summer to plant the purple three awn the sunflowers and possibly some black eyed peas.
In the fall I was considering the following wildflower combination: blackfoot daisy, indian blanket, and gloriosa daisy. But these are all in the same family. Is that a problem? I know I need drought tolerant flowers, as it is very dry here and I plan to let nature water them. I have some left over blue flax seed I might plant there too.
My first idea was to get some hay and mulch the area until is is healed, but I am not able to get out due to illness and my husband already has enough of my outside errands to do with out asking for more. I already asked him to get a bag of waste veggie scraps from the healthfood store, but he won't. He thinks I will have enough with grass clippings. Maybe, but then the lawn will not get any! I have already seen the damage done by stealing leaves from one area to help another. So outside sources of mulch are not possible. Not sure where I would get rotten organic hay anyway.
What are your ideas on healing hard clay soil, with no plant life at all?
In the future, after the land is healthier I would like a few apple trees and a fig tree.
The other option is to let nature do the healing. Let what ever nature wants to grow, there grow. Not sure how long that would take though.
Any ideas would be greatly apreciated.
I have a seed trade wish list, but for now, I don't think these things will grow in that kind of soil. Not yet anyway