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Hard compacted, wet clay soil. How to prepare the soil for sod?

7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

We will be landscaping the back yard of our new build next spring. We had our final grade done but the part of the yard where I want to put sod has non existent top soil. It is basically dark brown clay (1-3 inches) on top of yellow pure gumbo clay soil. The soil stays saturated for a long time after it rains and if you happen to step on it when wet it cakes your shoes in mud about an inch thick. When it rains the water mostly runs off instead of sinking in.

The soil was badly compacted by contractors when our fence, deck and patio were built over the summer. I have read on this forum that tilling in amendments to loosen up the soil is a bad idea before laying sod due to weeds and a lumpy settling lawn. What am I to do when the grade is where it is supposed to be at but the soil is compacted hard clay? I won't lay sod with the soil being so compacted. We had an old compacted lawn at our last home and it had nothing but weed problems.

I live in Alberta, Canada and our sod will be Kentucky Blue Grass.

Thank you in advance.


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