To solve a moisture issue involving soil saturation, a professional engineer
is recommending regrading using high clay content soil. Where does one
obtain high clay content soil? I'm located in NJ. Nobody seems to carry
that type of soil.
I a bit curious what sort of "professional engineer" is recommending
high clay content soil. Most engineers are extreme specialists and many
know very little outside of their specialty. I'm also a bit curious about
an expert who would recommend high clay soil but have no idea how
to acquire it.
Generally, high clay soil is something to be avoided in most landscapes.
If I lived near you, I'd gladly trade my worthless high clay soil for just
about any other soil type.
It is true that the initial infiltration rate of clay soils is much lower
than for other soils such as sandy loam. This seems like an advantage,
but it is important to realize that clay soils will eventually become
saturated just as any other soil type, and, unlike good soils, they have
very high water retention properties.
Most water problems are associated with clay soils and not with sandy
soils. This would include soil compaction and swampy soil, both of which
greatly inhibit grass and plant health. These problems also include
high hydrostatic pressures, which can cause wet basements, cracked
foundation walls, bowed basement walls, etc.
If you insist upon having high clay soils, then I'd suggest checking with
your largest local sand, soil and aggregate sellers and tell them what
you want. They may be able to direct you toward a source of "fines"
which can be added to your existing soil in a effort to convert it into
a clay soil. For reference, silt has a size of 0.002-0.050 mm, which
is the approximate size of sesame seeds. Better would be true clays,
which have a diameter less than 0.002 mm, which is the size of fine
table salt or smaller. Examine the clay before purchasing.
You can also check with ceramic suppliers, but the price per ton is
going to be very high - about $500 since you are buying a very high
grade clay with high quality standards. More practical would be finding
a source of crude river bank silt/clay, pit clay, etc. This is inexpensive,
about $25-$50 per ton. If you find a source, ask if they will sell you
or give you a small quantity such as the amount that fits in a 5 gallon
bucket. Experiment with this and your existing soil to determine the
correct ratio to create crappy high clay soil. Unless you are happy to
just dump it on top of the existing soil. Then purchase accordingly.
You can also let us know what problem you are attempting to solve
and some of us may have some more practical solutions. I've done a
bit of studying on drainage control issues, subsoil drainage, golf course
design, etc. I know that in many cases what you are being advised to
do can be a major disaster. A perched water table is one such possibility.
This occurs when finer soils sit atop a base of more coarse soils or
aggregates. While not intuitively obvious, this often creates a situation
in which the upper layer of fines "refuses" to drain. The opposite type of
perched water table is more intuitive and occurs when a highly permeable
soil sits on top of a soil with very low permeability.
Once again, what are the details about the problem you are attempting