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Old 12-18-2008, 04:13 PM
 
144 posts, read 32,002 times
Reputation: 13

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I live in East Vancouver and just notice the soil is clay.
No wonder my yard never full drains. Even in Summer
when it's 100 degree for 10 days straight, i still have
water standing in the soil. Thankfully my crawl space
is pretty dry, but has some moisture from the clay.
Doe's anyone know how to cure this problem?
I love to put in synthetic grass, but that would
$$$$.
Can't even play in the yard without turning it into
a mud pit, very sad!
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Old 12-21-2008, 01:57 AM
 
144 posts, read 32,002 times
Reputation: 13
I am surprised that Janb does't know the answer to this question????
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:37 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW / CO / SA TX / Thailand
11,187 posts, read 18,587,988 times
Reputation: 8038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlabs View Post
I am surprised that Janb does't know the answer to this question????
I've been out on the tractor clearing snow for a few days... (plus my 'dial-up' doesn't 'dial me up' Have I ever said how much I hate only having dialup....

Get in touch with Master Gardeners (or preferably move to Felida, Minnehaha, Ridgefield...)

something that helps is LOTS of sand. I was helping my neighbor with an excavation project and left 12 yards of dredged sand at each of 2 friends for their gardens and they were really impressed at the improvement. I'd get some buckwheat as cover crop too. It has a hollow stalk, very nice for improving soil tilth. (farmer talk, for healthy, breathable soil). You can grow it in the spring and plant a later garden (often best to plant after May 10th anyway, the Clark County rule is to plant garden 'After the snow is off Silver Star Mtn')

As soon as it is dry enough and we see 50 degree nights, I'd spread about 3" of dredging sand (it has soil in it too) and grow buckwheat, then I'd DEEP plow that in and add another 3-4" of sand. (I don't like the idea of plowing, BUT, you have to get this material INTO the soil Do that a few years in a row. Might have to check with MG to see if there is something more cold tolerant than buckwheat, as if we have a cool spring it might not grow fast enough. This is more garden related than lawn, but your lawn would be really happy if you gave it some nice soil. Use LOTS of lime early in the spring, It is as important as Nitrogen in the wet PNW (and much nicer on the environment). It also helps with the clay, but not like sand and natural soil amenities. If you don't want to tear up the grass... I would aerate and add an inch of sand every couple months during the rainy season. Cover the whole lawn, and rake sand so enough grass shows through to keep growing. Do this AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN. Maybe you could use a 'drop' fertilizer spreader, but his would probably be very slow (and messy in the rain)

another good product is 3-in-1 mulch (sand, soil, organic) it is a bit spendy ($16/yd) and too heavy to put over grass.


In the PNW, the fall fertilizing of lawn is most important. Try to use a 0-20-20 which is very tough to find after our last feed mill closed. I use 16-16-16 +10%Iron in the very late spring (june) I HATE to mow grass, that is a good job for sheep. and the sound of a lawn mower makes me go 'postal' (my neighbor is from the city and mows about 10 hrs / week, or when grass grows 1/2 inch... which is every 2 hrs in the spring)
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:28 PM
 
144 posts, read 32,002 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks for the great advice Janb...
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Old 12-21-2008, 06:48 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW / CO / SA TX / Thailand
11,187 posts, read 18,587,988 times
Reputation: 8038
Oh, I should have mentioned... stuff growing in SW WA (including grass but especially gardens and trees).

Give it plenty of light and air flow, and good drainage. Irrigate in early AM instead of evening (helps control slugs and summer evaporation). I got to thinking you might have a low lying lot with privacy fencing clear to the ground and / or shade (tress / house). Most Plants don't take too kindly to being 'cooped-up'
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:28 PM
 
144 posts, read 32,002 times
Reputation: 13
Yes sounds like my yard...
Your thoughts on synthetic grass?
Thanks.
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:49 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW / CO / SA TX / Thailand
11,187 posts, read 18,587,988 times
Reputation: 8038
Haven't thought of using it for a home... sounds great if you can afford it, and maint is not too intensive. I've never had it, tho I did have a house with a 'Sports court' filling the whole backyard. That was nice for Maint, and NO MOWing
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:38 PM
 
144 posts, read 32,002 times
Reputation: 13
Yea i'll have to look into that. It sure would be nice to have.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:30 PM
Status: "Sweater and boot weather" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley
4,212 posts, read 8,173,778 times
Reputation: 3408
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlabs View Post
I live in East Vancouver and just notice the soil is clay.
No wonder my yard never full drains. Even in Summer
when it's 100 degree for 10 days straight, i still have
water standing in the soil. Thankfully my crawl space
is pretty dry, but has some moisture from the clay.
Doe's anyone know how to cure this problem?
I love to put in synthetic grass, but that would
$$$$.
Can't even play in the yard without turning it into
a mud pit, very sad!
Depends on where you are. Going north and east from the river at the I-5 bridge, as the elevation goes up you are on an ancient gravel bar from the Missoula floods. The soil there has lots of cobbles and smaller boulders and clay. As is true of Alameda Ridge over on the Portland side, if you have a basement or are dig into the hill, you should check for radon - a lot of the cobbles are Montana quartzite conglomerates and contain trace amounts (and I mean trace) of uranium, which is what decays into radon.

As you come down off the gravel bar, going north, the soil is frequently rocky, but it's in lenses and layers, and can change from block to block.

As you'll find out when you go to rent a rototiller, a lot of rental companies have certain parts of the area redlined and won't rent you one.

When we had a house built over on the 164th corridor, we hired someone with a tractor and a rake to "sift" out the rocks from the first layers of the soil and then amended the heck out of it, with sand and compost, and it grew things beautifully. Soils in these parts tend toward acid (hence the beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas) to start with.

Down in the Willamette Valley, where there are a lot of flood soils, they frequently have to tile the fields to get them to drain properly. So what you may need to do is "reshape" your backyard and put in a drain. When the snow melts, take a good look at where the low, wet areas are, and those will be your first fixes.
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