Smelly dirt

Hi all,
LONG time since I have been here. I decked in most of my back yard after amending, tilling, replacing and spending a fortune on the lawn. No matter what I put down or replaced it with, it turns to clay. It is heavy clay soil that will not support grass. I left about a 10' area for the doggies and have 5' flower beds around the perimeter of the house and deck. Not much going on in the flower beds either.
The problem is the smell. We have had these torrential downpours every afternoon for the past week and the soil smells so bad I go out back just to pick up after the dogs and that's it. What can I put on it to keep the smell down? My yard borders a drainage canal and and it has that stinky swampy smell. I even bought an outdoor fan. I was thinking baking soda. I don't care if it kills the few weeds that grow. There is actually a bluish green algae growing on it. Would watering it with city water (contains chorine) help? I am in Eastern Virginia.
Thanks!
Suzi
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Get the water tested. Have the county come out and explain the smell.
You're in to a 'boiling to ocean' problem if you think dumping anything on it will help. You've got to find out WHY its smelling first and then fix that source.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A friend of mine lives in a development where the builder somehow screwed up a drainage ditch and caused a similar problem with smell. If I were you, I'd first call your town hall and speak to someone involved with building permits. Since they are the people who are at least marginally involved with building things right, perhaps they can direct you to someone else in the beaurocracy who can investigate whether someone has blocked drainage someplace along the canal.
Incidentally, *some* overly "lively" water is caused by various sources of fertilizer, like farms, private lawns and sometimes even animal crap.
If you don't get intelligent answers from your local people, try calling your state's department of environmental whatevers. If you get a runaround, hang up, call back, lie just a little, and tell them you're thinking of having a fishing pond dug on your property. If nothing else, that'll get you connected to someone who knows something about water and drainage.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why do you think it "turns to clay"? What did you put down?
My soil is very much clay and a few inches of topsoil worked in has a great lawn growing from seed in a year. For bigger plants you need to dig deeper holes, but with decent soil around the roots the plants will adapt and break up the clay over time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Data Rat wrote:

into good dirt.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And, in rec.gardens, someone made another good suggestion: Cover the beds with leaves in autumn, and secure chicken wire over them for the winter. Did into the soil in the spring. Repeat next year. Forever, actually. :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Doug Kanter wrote:

tuff on lawn though
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.