Smelly clay soil

Asked April 12, 2017, 9:30 AM EDT

What's the best way to get rid of the smelly soil in my yard? I plan to put a patio in this area this summer but it smells like a sewer (I had it checked, not my sewer, no natural gas leak).

Washington County Oregon

2 Responses

I'd recommend getting wood chips and spreading it as mulch. What you want to do is allow the soil microbes to work through whatever the "smell" is. Alternatively, you could get a soil test to help you understand what might be causing the issue.

Other strategies could be using plants that have strong scents. Lavender, rosemary and sage are hardy herbs that might help, but if the soil is wet, those plants may not be suitable.

Since this past winter has been extremely wet, you might need to manage the drainage. Has the smell intensified this year? The addition of organic matter (like the woodchips I mentioned early) will help the soil hold moisture but also allow air pockets. there are a number of plants that like moist soil (hydrangeas come to mind.)

Thank you! It's been really wet this year and this is the first time in 21 years living here that this has been an issue.