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.
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
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.
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.
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. :)
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