My yard smells. It is heavy clay and when it rains, it holds moisture and
turns green with either algae or mold. (I have had 2 loads of top soil
brought in, tilled it and amended it per the dept. of agriculture. It
always started out great, then turns back to clay. Overall, I have spent
about 3K on the back yard)
Oddly enough, where it smells the worst is in an area that gets full sun to
bright shade all day. The yard is graded correctly, it slopes down, away
from the house. I do not have any trees in the yard, but there are very
tall pine tree's behind the yard.
My question is what can I put on it to neutralize the smell?
I am getting ready to deck the remaining yard in so I don't care if it kills
the grass, (what little there is). I also have 2 dogs and the smell of
urine stays forever. Baking soda doesn't work and I have actually tried
Febreeze. It's just a rank smell.
Do any neighbors have septic systems? The algae is worrisome and suggestive
of biomass rotting. I suspect either a sewer line leak or seepage into your
yard from a neighbor's septic system. I would dig a test hole with a
posthole digger in the greenest part of the yard, to see what kind of mung
seeps into it. Sewage tainted water typically turns the earth around the
area green, especially in sunlight.
No, this area has always been on city water and sewage. I don't know if
being at the edge of a swamp (the last part of the Great Dismal Swamp) has
anything to do with it. That is odd that the situation you suggest sounds
so close to mine. Just to make sure, I went to the city records and asked
my neighbor who bought his house new, and there was never septic
here...before the area was built, it was all swamp. Sure couldn't happen
now with all the laws protecting wetlands.
Sounds like Return Of The Swamp Thing! :^/
If the land used to be swamp, I suspect that is the core of your problem.
Cheapass land developers often just bulldoze all the trees and stuff into a
low spot, and bury them. That, plus a high water table, will rot for
decades. You don't have a basement, I take it? Even if your lot is solid dry
ground, if you have the low lot in the development, stuff that outgasses
from the swamp may collect in your yard.
Need to do some deep (10 foot, at least) boreholes, and see what is down
there. There may not BE a cheap solution. Unless you can eliminate whatever
is rotting, the only other solution is to eliminate the water, which could
mean drainage changes in the entire neighborhood. Maybe an excavator could
take off the top few feet, and fit a clay cap, like on a landfill?
Swamps will outgas methane all by themselves with no help from humans.
He may have thousands of years of buried organics under there. The
problem may not be high water, it may be that they drained the swamp.
Anaerobic conditions could have preserved swamp muck since the last ice
age, then draining the swamp let it start to decompose.
Test cores are definitely indicated.
Umm, make like your going to do some more extensive digging, and call
your local utility locating service, and have them locate the utility
lines that run on your property.
That and a few well placed test digs should tell you a lot.
cheap and easy way, but slow, is to stop by your local lawn care center and
get a couple bags of lime, spread that on the lawn. . Don't expect instant
miracles. Heavy clay is tough to work with, but lime will help break down
the surface and will probably get rid of the algae and mold.
I think I will do that. I am getting ready to deck what yard I have left
and I don't want the smell coming in under the deck. I think I will put on
powdered lime and then cover that with palletized lime. I was thinking of
making the deck angle down ever so slightly and forcing the boards as close
together as I could to keep the area dry so it won't smell under there.
Does that sound reasonable? I know I am being unreasonable now. Last
weekend I had a cookout and we ended up moving it to the front yard because
it smelled so bad.
Art, I am a woman!!! :-)
This doesn't sound like naturally occurring odors, even with two dogs.
Are they mastiffs? If they potty in one confined area, perhaps. Clay
is almost like a "container" - a pot - that traps what enters it. I
would make a concerted effort to walk the dogs and keep their toileting
out of the yard for a while - a month, at least. Then (or sooner if you
are inclined) I would have the city look at it for possible sewage line
ruptures. If there is a lot of vegetative matter in the wet area, I
would clear that as well. Putting in a gravel bed and a french drain
may be the solution.
Does it smell like 1) swamp muck (that black stuff on the bottom of the
lagoon), 2) sewer gas when a trap has no water in it, or 3) rotting wood
Do you have a basement, or are you too far south to need one, or is ground
water too high to have one?
You know you are a Redneck when... you have so many dogs you can smell
their urine outside (not just on the carpet).
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /
I am 7 miles form the ocean front so nobody does the basement thing around
here. We hit water at 10-15 feet easily. My well that I use for the yard
is okay...high in iron, like every other well around here. The smell is a
dirty swampy smell you speak of. The development is 30 years old and there
is a drainage canal right behind my yard. My dogs are 2 shar pei, no
What is the smell?? Does it smell like sewage or "swampy"?
I live in So. Alabama, totally impervious clay soil, when I open up my
swimming pool and clean all the algae out of it, my yard smells "swampy" for
several weeks. You might need to consider better drainage :-(
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