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terrible smell from the soil

grace

By Grace

United Kingdom Gb

we moved into a bungalow 7 months ago and the soil is very much clay we have a small shrub and a smallish tree and the area around that has the most awful smell. Because the area is clay we have used planters for our flowers and then put decorative slate on the soil. The slate near the tree and container always looks wet unlike the rest of the slate which stays light grey. I would be so grateful for some advice.




Answers

 

Looks like your water doesn't drain, it sits on the clay. Do the shrub and the tree look healthy? Otherwise I would suggest they might be rotting in the wet. You would need to solve this problem by mixing sand and mulch into the ground, anything at all to absorb the water. Perhaps you could even dig a little drain around it, but that would only help if you let it slope so the water runs away. Of course the slate tiles don't really help, because they will not let the damp evaporate. Well, this is my opinon and idea, of course I haven't seen the situation and I am not a landscape architect. Here we have also problems with very damp gardens in summer and we have drainpipes here and there. These are the black poly pipes with those holes in them. You dig them into the ground and let them run downhill. The water runs into them in the soil and so away. But I don't know how that behaves with the clay soil. I know clay is water resistant, we had our dams lined with them. The water stands on top of it. Do you have any drainpipes coming from the house ( e.g. kitchen ) running into your garden? This could also develop a foul smell.
I hope you can sort it out, but I think mixing the clay with drier matter will solve the problem.

18 Jul, 2008

 

Marguerite is right - sort out the drainage problem first. If then you decide you want to plant in your soil, then the right time to start digging is in late autumn - leave the clay lumps over winter and the frost will help to brake it up. Then you need to dig in loads of organic material, compost, manure etc. If you persevere, your soil will be good and you will be pleased that you can grow a variety of plants - especially roses which love clay soils! When you plant anything at all after all this, dig a big hole and back-fill the plant with compost. I know that clay soil is hard to live with - but your hard work will pay off and just imagine what your garden will be like!

18 Jul, 2008

 

I agree, the drainage problem needs to be addressed first. My parents had this problem when they first moved in to their newly built house and had to get land drains laid to stop the garden flooding whenever it rained. Their garden is also on clay and still retains more water than most despite the land drains, but it hasn't stopped them growing a wide range of plants. Clay soil can be used to grow very many beautiful plants if it is worked and managed well.

19 Jul, 2008

 

Thankyou so much for all your contributions we will certainly take on board all what has been suggested.

Kind regards

Grace

19 Jul, 2008

How do I say thanks?

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