Vegetables

Clayey soil

The clayey soil: its intrinsic characteristics

The clayey soil contains over 40% clay, a composition that makes it compact and difficult to work with by man. The clay present in the soil can be in the form of clay materials, aluminum, iron hydroxides, silica and humus. The structure of the clayey soil can be granular or glomerular, depending on the low or low level of organic matter. Furthermore, it is extremely porous and compact, with a low bulk density when not processed. The clayey soilit has good water retention capabilities, however it is, at the same time, not very permeable and with a complicated drainage. In addition, it is characterized by crevassability: in fact, when the soil is dry, cracks form both on the surface and in depth. The clayey soil has excellent water absorption capacity, which can often lead to frequent water stagnation which is prolonged over time.

The positive and negative characteristics of clayey soil


The aforementioned characteristics are related to the lack of oxygen in the clayey soil: consequently, it can be said that the properties of the soil are constrained by its structure. The agronomic properties of clayey soil, on the other hand, can be distinguished between positive and negative, both connected to its density and porosity. Difficulty in processing, impermeability, plasticity, insufficient stability and adhesiveness in the case of moist soil are considered negative properties. The worst defect of clayey soil is the difficulty in working both manually and with mechanical means, while the impermeability allows the rapid infiltration of water on the surface and the equally rapid disposal of gravitational water. In reverse, the capacity of absorption and water retention are positive properties. On the other hand, crevassability and the capillarity of the soil can be positive or negative, depending on the different context.

How to make the drainage of clayey soil


The drainage of clayey soil allows you to cultivate not only plants capable of tolerating clay well on this type of soil. The first thing to do to practice drainage is to determine the pH level in the soil. There are various types of tests on the market, ranging from do-it-yourself test strips to professional kits. The pH level determines the degree of acidity of the soil. In addition, it is also good to carry out the test on water. Finally, a filtering test must be carried out to understand if the soil is sufficiently draining. You have to dig a hole 60cm deep and 30cm wide. Just fill it with water, let the liquid be absorbed and fill it again. If the drainage takes 12 to 24 hours the soil is clayey, while if it takes more than 24 hours, only trees that can withstand floods can be planted. If you want to drain the clayey soil, you have to follow some prescriptions. First of all, you should never work the soil if it is wet. Also, the work will be tiring, so it’s good to ask for help.

Clay soil: How to correct a clay soil


Warning: it is good to correct an area larger than the one you will use, as the future development of the roots must also be considered. The correction of clayey soil is based on the test results: in some cases it is necessary to lower the pH, by adding construction sand or gypsum (which allow better drainage of the clayey soil) and manure or organic compounds. You have to start with these, then add the sand and mix it with the soil using a subsoiler. However, clay is quite alkaline, so it is often necessary to do the reverse, increasing the acidity of the soil. Ammonia-based fertilizers, or sulfur or iron sulphate, or, alternatively, a compost of sphagnum and cottonseed can be added. In addition, it is better to avoid automatic irrigation systems,

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