S.E. Michigan, Canton Township - Clay Soil and Fertilizers

Asked July 16, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT

1- What fertilizers can be mixed with clay soil for vegetable gardens? 2- What fertilizers can be mixed with clay soil for grass in an unshaded areas?

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response


There is no specific fertilizer to use without first having the soil tested so that you know what the soil needs to grow the desired plants.

To have a soil test, you can purchase them here: www.msusoiltest.com

The test will tell you how much of the basic nutrients ( except nitrogen) are already in the soil and your pH, organic matter, and type of soil. It will tell you how much and what type fertilizer to apply for the plant you indicate on the submission form. You would need two separate tests to get a recommendation for growing a lawn and for growing vegetables. Nitrogen is not tested because it is so mobile in soil that your nitrogen level would be different by the time your results were back. The test does tell you how much nitrogen to put down based on the plants grown.

If you can not do the soil test, apply a basic vegetable fertilizer to your veggie garden such as 12-12-12, 3-4-2 or one that says it is for vegetables on the label. Follow the guide on the label. If there is none, look at the growing guides available here:



Here is an article with a Lawn fertilizer schedule and example. The info is still valid except for the phosphorus. There is so much phosphorus in all Michigan soils that lawn fertilizers no longer contain it by law. Phosphorus is indicated by the middle number, "zero", in the nutrient analysis on the bag. Use a fertilizer that has a zero, such as 32-0-4 or 28-0-2 or any fertilizer labeled for lawns. A time-release fertilizer lasts longer than one that isn't. Always follow the bag instructions.


Here is the homeowner lawn site with a lot of good info: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/home_lawns

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