How to improve clay soil in the garden

If your site has heavy clay soil, then do not despair. Heavy clay in the Kuban are often found. The clay soil can be significantly improved, its condition can be, however, it will take a lot of time( perhaps several years), a lot of physical, material costs. Such soils require a lot of effort during processing. The terms heavy or light soils characterize their granulometric or mechanical composition. It is determined by the relative content of particles of various sizes.

In our country, soil classification according to the particle size distribution of N. A. Kachinsky( 1943) is usually used. It is based on the ratio of physical clay( particles less than 0.01 mm) and physical sand( particles from 0.01 to 1 mm).Heavy clay soil contains more than 80% clay and less than 20% sand.

Small clay particles adhere tightly to each other, as a result of which such soil becomes impermeable to water and air. Moreover, in the absence of oxygen in it, the process of decomposition of organic matter slows down. Clay soils are rich in nutrients, but if it is too acidic or too alkaline, then these nutrients will not be available to plants. Due to the high density, heavy clay soils are unsuitable for growing root crops( potatoes, beets, carrots).But the roses, as well as many fruit trees feel great on them.

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Heavy clay soils, as a rule, contain more nutrients, but slowly warm up. Moisture, falling in the form of rain or snow, does not penetrate well into the underlying horizons. Often it stagnates in depressions of the relief, forming the so-called saucers. Usually in such places souring of the earth occurs.

After heavy rains, a heavy soil crust forms on the surface of heavy clay soils, preventing air from penetrating into the lower soil horizons. And during drought - it is strongly compacted, cracked. At the same time, clay soils are difficult to handle manually or mechanized processing. A distinctive feature is their acid reaction, which adversely affects the growth and development of most cultivated plants.

How to improve clay soil? Where to begin?

It is necessary to start with a revision of the layout of your site, eliminating all the irregularities of the relief to avoid stagnant water. Conducting autumn digging of clayey heavy soils, it is not recommended to break up large lumps. Winter frosts, moisture will destroy these lumps, significantly improving the structure of the upper horizon. To keep the clay soil from becoming even more compacted, the autumn digging should be completed before the onset of autumn rains, and in the spring it is necessary to re-dig.

In order to increase the number of large mineral particles in the ground, at the beginning of the last century, experts recommended using crushed bricks for digging, sifted through a large sieve. It should be scattered over the area of ​​a site 9–13 cm thick, and then plowed along with fertilizers. If you carry out such an operation for several years in a row, then the clay soil can be improved beyond recognition.

It is clear that not everyone has such a large amount of broken bricks at hand. Therefore, it is possible to resort to a more accessible method, using for this purpose plant residues squeezed together with the earth( weeds, branches, bark).Plant residues are burned along with the roots, sticking to the ground, and the ash thus obtained is introduced during digging. The introduction of sand gives good results - from 0.5 to 1 buckets per square meter. When introducing crushed brick, sand, or ash burned to the ground, one should not forget that the main influence on the grain size distribution of the soil is caused by the introduction of organic matter, while brick, ash, or sand only increase the effect.

It is recommended to deposit annually at least 1.5-2 buckets per 1 sq. M.meter of rotted manure( better horse or sheep) or compost, which is not recommended to be buried deeper than 10-12 cmmaking it more friable, as well as air and water permeable.

Peat or sawdust can be used as organic matter. It is not recommended to bring the peat red-brown color, as it contains a large amount of iron, which can adversely affect the growth and development of plants. As for sawdust, they make no more than 1 bucket per square meter, moistening with a solution of urea. To do this, 150 g of urea is dissolved in 10 liters of water, pour 3 buckets of sawdust with this solution.

Experts believe that for five years with the annual introduction of organic matter, sand, the upper arable layer( 15-18 cm) will turn from clay to loamy. An invaluable service in the introduction of organic matter into the soil( especially sawdust) will be provided by biological preparations based on the tribrichoderma fungus( Trichoderma harzianum) - Glyocladin, Sternifag.

Finally, it should be noted that the use of green fertilizers( green manure) is very effective for increasing fertility. Siderates can significantly improve clay soil, as they change, improve the particle size distribution of heavy soils. As sideratov, you can use crops of peas, wiki, phacelia, rapeseed, mustard, and other crops.

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