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  1. #1
    Silver Member gaproperty's Avatar
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    Default What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage. Sand they say will harden up like cement. Wood chips... Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    You've posed a question suitable for a professional soil scientist... But even such a person would have to ask first what kind of top soil you have. Topsoil in the various regions of the nation is quite different in character and compaction. If you have a small area involved, you can actually go to a home improvement store or nursery and buy a bag of material they pretty-much guarantee to make your soil drain better.

    I suggest talking to gardeners and nurserymen in your area... And you can also send a soil sample to your extension service as a place to start. Remember that, to drain, soil must have some place for the water to drain to. Wonderful soil over a bowl of clay will be soggy and will not drain.

    I have heard of sand being used, and mulches and such... But it would all depend on the kind of soil you have right now.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member RDrancher's Avatar
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Lime can make clay soils more workable which may help with drainage. If you use sand, use the real coarse type to keep it from hardening.
    John

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Sand is a good thing , makes for a smooth ride also . No foam in the bud .

  5. #5
    Silver Member gaproperty's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks everybody. Gives me some ideas.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    When I lived in Maryland GYPSUM was recommended for making the local blue clay more friable. Worked well in my raised bed vegetable and flower gardens.

    Wood chips have the advantage of adding organic material. In this part of Florida, where lime rock is quarried and we have hight pH {low acid} soil conditions, pine bark and pine chips, which are acid, are often worked into the soil, which increase the pH and make soil more friable and water retentive. We have a lot of forestry industry here; chips are readily available by the truckload.

    In most of Georgia you have red clay, which I speculate is acid. Point being, if you consider wood chips research the characteristics of the chips available to optimize your results in the soil.

    You may need to add some nitrogen fertilizer when incorporating woods chips. Here, with our sun, heat and humidity, I do not add nitrogen.

  7. #7
    Gold Member Bigkrank's Avatar
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Spray soap/surfactant, Agri-SC or Panhandler.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigkrank View Post
    Spray soap/surfactant, Agri-SC or Panhandler.
    I have heard that before, that some farmers pour cheap soap such as Octogon brand over their soybeans before planting. Helps soften the dirt around the seed tospeed up root development.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Organic material.
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  10. #10
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What can you mix with top soil to give it more drainage

    Depending on what part of GA you're in, and how big an area we're talking about, you might want to take a look at rice hulls. If you're within a reasonable delivery distance of the delta rice fields, they're relatively cheap. Once tilled in they create porosity in the soil and add organic matter as they break down. I put them in my raised beds every spring. I also use them as bedding in my chicken coop, and the cleanings after a couple months are just about the best soil amendment I've ever used.
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