Improving clay soils

Asked August 25, 2016, 10:23 AM EDT

Planted an oak leaf hydrangea about 15 years ago. It thrived for 12 years but then just began looking pitiful 3 years ago. Side dressed the plant with some Miracle grow soil and it appeared to improve but never really thrived. Did this each sprong for past two springs but plant just finally died this spring. When I dug it up yesterday, at least 5 days after any rain, ground smelled like a swamp. No evidence of any garden soil additives. Pure clay. Thick modeling clay. Want ti plant anothrr hydrangea but got to figure out why this clay is now in my garden when I know when I first planted the hydrangea I had relatively good soil. How do.I create decent soil that will last

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response

Some things you might try before any new plantings:
1. take a soil sample of the bed area where you will be planting and make
adjustments according to UK recommendations to the site before planting.
2. if possible, remove 3-4 inches of the clay from the sides and bottom where the
new plant will be installed
3. place an ample amount of good compost at the bottom of the hole prior to
setting the plant and around the sides as you back fill the plant. The compost is
a very important part of the planting process

Let me know if you have any questions.
Wayne Long
Ag Agent/County Coordinator
Jefferson County Extension Service
office 502-569-2344
cell 859-317-1099