Planting in Florida clay

mavroMay 4, 2007

I am finding it very difficult to grow anything in my yard. This is a new-construction area and the dirt from the pond was dumped on my lot. The landscaper eventually planted a weeping willow where he tried to put a crape myrtle...and it is thriving because it sits in a "bowl", usually full of water, especially during rainy season. I'd like to put some color and some trees on the property.

Is there a difference between Georgia clay and Florida clay? My friend who moved there seems able to grow things that fail here even if I follow the same steps.


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There is a difference between healthy, native clay and the stuff that is taken from the bottom of the pond. ;-(

Some clays are wonderful...I know, I have it in my own yard! It is the hardest stuff you can imagine, but bright red and well-drained. Red means that the clay has plenty of oxygen, in spite of the fact that it's clay. Plants thrive in it.

A clay soil must drain decently in order to be productive. Extra clayey soils can be improved by the additions of large amounts of organic matter of some kind, and then being kept mulched with more organic matter. Leaf litter, compost, wood fines, etc. are all examples of what many people use.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:35PM
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not sure if you'll see this message since it's now june1 but what i found when i moved to north mississippi with very hard clay, is that you should either wait for a rain or water first before planting. water well and then dig when the soil is like moist cake and not mushy, after a big rain, wait maybe 2 days. raised beds may also be used for plants that do not go very deep with their roots, like most annuals and perennials. for trees and shrubs, dig a hole no deeper than the root ball, but 2-3x as wide. break up and re-use the native soil. for annuals and perennials, use lots of organic matter like compost, leaf mold, etc.
also mulch alot as this will help the underlying soil. i was totally upset after moving here (displaced after hurricane katrina) from coastal louisiana, and just couldn't believe i had to deal with clay soil, but it's working. clay soil is actually very nutrient rich and holds moisture, but it is a challenge.
good luck. and i don't wish any hurricanes on you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 10:31PM
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