Growing Grass in Clay Soil


Clay soil can be a challenge for gardeners when they are planting grasses and other greenery in their yard. Keeping a hardy lawn with a mostly clay soil base takes some preparation to the soil. Preparing clay soil before planting will lead to thriving plants and a lush green lawn. As with any planting, soil preparation is the key to a successful planting.

Step 1

Prepare the soil for seeding. Turn the clay soil with a rotary tiller to remove large clumps of clay. Remove large clumps with a pointed shovel. Add sharp sand to the clay soil, tilling in with a roto tiller. Lay 1 inch of sand across the area to be seeded. Turn compost and organic material into the soil with the tiller. Add compost at a rate of 3 cubic feet per 1,000 square feet of tilling area. Dead plants, manure, peat, tree bark and straw are popular organic materials added to clay soil. Continue to work the materials into the soil with the tiller.

Step 2

Choose a grass seed for your climate and soil conditions. Fill a walk-behind spreader with grass seed and open the controls to half open. Walk in paths across the lawn. Repeat this process, walking perpendicular to the original path. This cross-seeding will allow for better germination of the seeds.

Step 3

Apply water to the lawn after the seed application. Continue watering the area for five days, keeping the soil moist yet not soggy. New grass sprouts should begin to appear within five days of the seeding. Reduce watering once seedlings have reached 3 to 5 inches tall.

Step 4

Mow the lawn after sprouts have reached 3 to 5 inches tall. Mow with a sharp blade to prevent tearing of the new sprouts.

Things You'll Need

  • Rotary tiller
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Grass seed
  • Walk-behind spreader
  • Mower


  • Better Business Bureau:Lawn Care and Lawn Care Services
  • University of Illinios: Establishment of Turf
  • Colorado State University: Choosing a Soil Amendment
  • Ohio Farm Bureau: What plants work with clay soil?
  • Allotment Vegtable Growing: Improving Clay Soils
Keywords: grass seed, clay soil, planting grass