‘Clay soil.’ Two words that usually fill any gardener with eye-rolling dread.

This is because clay can be a real pain when it comes to growing plants in it. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, and there are plenty of plants that can grow quite well in clay soil. Both annuals and perennials can grow in this kind of soil, as well as a surprisingly large number of vegetables. In fact, many types of trees can not only grow but can thrive in clay-rich soil.

However, before you jump in feet first with planting any kinds of trees in clay soil, it’s a good idea to do a little bit of research into what will grow well in clay.

Clay: The good

First of all, this type of soil has a couple of benefits worth noting. It’s very dense, which means it retains moisture very well. The particles in clay soil are also negatively charged, which means it retains nutrients necessary for plants to survive, like potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Clay: The bad

On the flip side of this, clay is not the best choice for certain plants, because it’s slow draining, and you could actually drown plants in it. Clay soils tend to be more alkaline, which can limit nutrient options for plants.

Also, clay can heave quite badly during the winter months, creating pressure on delicate root systems that might kill it. In the summer months, it can actually bake solid.

So… will trees grow in clay soil?

The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes.’ Trees like Hawthorn, Crab Apple and Magnolia will do very well in clay soils, and have the added benefit of attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden.

A little bit of extra work with clay will make it easier to grow things in it, like improving its texture. If you mulch it in the spring with rotted organic matter or grit or bark, it will be easier to work with.

Clay soil needn’t be a headache with a bit of extra groundwork!

If you’re thinking of planting trees on your property, get in touch with the experts at South Downs Tree Services Ltd today.