New Homes and the Effects of Clay on Your Soil

Picture this: renovations on your brand new home have been completed! Sounds great, right? Well, your soil may not agree. After construction, your soil may need some reevaluation. Start with a soil test! Sites of construction damage often have deficiencies in organic matter content, aeration, fertility, and drainage. A soil test can help determine your next step in fixing these deficiencies. Often, what causes the majority of the problem is clay on your growing site, and secondly, any wear and tear done by the equipment. According to Mr. Chad S. Blake, operations manager at Ponder landscaping, the major problem with your soil after construction impact is compaction. The weakened soil will not withstand wear and tear as efficiently as a healthy soil would.

Clay at New Homes
How to Fix

A universal solution is adding high-quality compost. Neutral, high-organic matter compost will solve a variety of problems including poor infiltration, water holding capacity, and nutrient deficiency. Avoid merely placing the compost; Instead, try mixing it with the soil that is already present. Simply placing the new soil will make layers of soil with different characteristics, rather than being uniform throughout. Mr. Blake offers some alternative solutions: “You can fix your soil by aerating, tilling, and cultivating it. You can also add Jepsen, a natural way to aerate compacted soils.” It is certainly possible to reverse any damage.

As explained by Mr. Blake, trace amounts of clay in your soil is actually good for your lawn; It’s when it gets to be heaps of clay that it becomes a problem. “If it’s in the right amount, [clay] helps provide good water retention so water doesn’t go straight through [the soil]. Clay helps soil retain the moisture. However, it can have the reverse effect. If there is too much clay, water doesn’t flow through it.” All soil has clay in it, it’s the amount of clay that matters.

Waiting to lay down sod

Mr. Blake gave a walk through in the process of installing a new lawn following construction damage. “We start by taking a soil sample, which will tell us any deficiencies. Next, we apply the necessary organic fertilizer and use a product, like limestone, to get the pH right if it wasn’t right. We always cultivate it and bring in a certain amount of topsoil. We also install any drainage necessary.”

Don’t be alarmed by a clay ridden lawn following property renovations. Maintain your excitement for a new property and relax, because clay damage is reversible!