What is a Clay Soil?
Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil material containing clay minerals. Clays develop plasticity when wet but can be hardened through firing.
Best Grass For Clay Soil In Kenya
The first type of grass that works well in clay soil is tall fescue (Festuca Arundinacea). Tall fescue works well with clay soil, especially if an individual is looking for cool-season grass. Tall fescue grows well when planted in partial shade, or full sun.
With tall fescue grass, a person gets a coarse-textured green that offers a lot of variety. That variety includes turf-type tall fescue grasses and dwarf turf-types which grow shorter.
Tall fescue works well with clay soil because its roots penetrate deep into the ground compared to other types of cool-season grasses. In fact, according to this report by Turfgrass Specialist Richard Duble, tall fescue actually grows best in clay soils that are high in organic matter.
It’s not suited for the deep south but the majority of the US can grow tall fescue so, if you are needing a cool-season grass that can do well in clay soil, tall fescue offers a great option.
Some people are dying to grow emerald-green Bermuda grass, also known as Cynodon Diachylon grass. That’s because people commonly see beautiful, carpet-type Bermuda grass on places like golf courses as well as public parks.
For individuals that want to plant Bermuda grass in clay soil, there’s some good news. Bermuda grass grows quite well in clay soil. However, if an individual wants Bermuda grass and lives in a colder temperature, planting Bermuda grass might require a bit of extra thought.
Common Bermuda grass won’t grow well in colder climates. However, newer varieties of Bermuda grass, like “U-3” and “Midiron” provide Bermuda grass options that grow well even in colder areas.
Bermuda grass, as a type of grass, typically does well in clay soil as long as a person develops the right kind of Bermuda grass in the correct climate.
Another type of grass a person can consider when looking for the best grass for clay soil is buffalo grass, also known as Buchloe Dachtyloides. Buffalo grass works well for individuals that want a grass that can tolerate droughts or low-water conditions in clay soil.
Kansas State University points out that it takes a while for the grass to get established when the soil contains clay but it is able to tolerate this soil type well (source).
So, for people that live in very hot, desert climates, buffalo grass offers a great option. Buffalo grass works as a warm-season grass that’s clay tolerant. Also, buffalo grass doesn’t require much watering, which is also great news.
However, it’s important to remember that buffalo grass goes dormant from around November through January. In March and April, buffalo grass starts to look green. So, when the temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, it’s an excellent time to plant buffalo grass.
What kind of fertilizer do you use on clay soil?
Organic matter sources can be composted chicken manure products (Super Booster, Blood & Bone Plus or Super Growth). or other forms of compost, green manures, animal manures and aged lawn clippings and leaves. These additions will help with drainage and aeration. Improving soil can take a while!
Is lime good for clay soil?
One way of improving the texture of a clay soil is to add lime. This raises the pH of acid clay soils, making them more alkaline and in doing so it encourages clay particles to stick together in small clumps. This results in larger particles and makes the soil more friable and easier to work.