Flora for Fauna Information Sheets:
If your garden has clay soils
|Information courtesy of: ||Kuranga Native Nursery,
||393 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood
While many Australian soils will tolerate heavy clay or clay-loam soils, a little effort put into soil preparation before planting will allow a wider range of plants to be grown and will also result in better plant growth.
Clay soils are made of very fine particles which pack together, thus preventing good drainage and aeration. Clay soils may remain dry all year or may become summer-dry but winter-wet. This lack of aeration and friability inhibits root development.
The addition of gypsum into the soil before planting is highly recommended as this helps to bind the fine clay particles together thus improving drainage and aeration. Gypsum must be well dug into the soil to a spade's depth or so at a rate of approx. 1-1.5kg/m2 and may be planted into straight away. Areas that have already been planted may be treated with Liquid Ground Breaker or Gyp-Flo. These have a similar effect to gypsum but are watered in.
All plants on the Flora for Fauna database have a soil preference indicator. To find those plants which grow best in clay soils look for the clay ' tick box.'
Ask your Nursery for information and products that can help improve your soil quality. Most gardening reference books carry information on working with clay soils.