Vertical holes full of Old Wood


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So if I used my auger and dropped 48" deep 8" diameter holes and put old rotted firewood, what would happen to this pond on my alabam red clay lawn? Not much? I have drilled holes elsewhere in the yard that were 4" dia by 24" deep and filled them with woodchips, but not on a real programmed type effort.
IMG_20181214_120607.jpg
 
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Let's look at it this way. Remove 4 feet of your red clay and replace that clay with old wood. Then put the clay back. What have you done? When the wood rots and finally becomes soil you will have about +/- 2 inches of soil compacted between 2 layers of clay. A lot of work for very little pay. Now, if you remove 4 feet of clay and replace it with good topsoil, that is a different story. If you don't like the standing water add soil and make a swale. Let the water stand on your neighbors land.
 
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Let's look at it this way. Remove 4 feet of your red clay and replace that clay with old wood. Then put the clay back. What have you done? When the wood rots and finally becomes soil you will have about +/- 2 inches of soil compacted between 2 layers of clay. A lot of work for very little pay. Now, if you remove 4 feet of clay and replace it with good topsoil, that is a different story. If you don't like the standing water add soil and make a swale. Let the water stand on your neighbors land.
I was imagining a 48" aerator hole into which I out some sort of compost. It seems popular on a 3 " scale.
 
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I was imagining a 48" aerator hole into which I out some sort of compost. It seems popular on a 3 " scale.
That still will not solve the standing water problem. Suppose you drilled all those holes and filled them with compost. The holes will fill with water and water will stand, but even worse than it is now as the 4 ft holes are also filled and cannot evaporate off. You will have a bog instead of a swamp. How much soil will be made from each bag of compost. Not much.
 
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That still will not solve the standing water problem. Suppose you drilled all those holes and filled them with compost. The holes will fill with water and water will stand, but even worse than it is now as the 4 ft holes are also filled and cannot evaporate off. You will have a bog instead of a swamp. How much soil will be made from each bag of compost. Not much.
I was hoping to create a deeper hyphae net and break the clay with the assistance of the fungal root structure.
 
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I was hoping to create a deeper hyphae net and break the clay with the assistance of the fungal root structure.
The structure of heavy clay soils have been subjected to every nuance of soil structure experiments known and the only thing that has been learned is that organic matter incorporated over decades into clay soil helps with soil friability. If you could take the top 16" of your clay and spread it out 1 inch deep and then incorporate 6 inches of compost you would achieve what you are looking for, for a limited amount of time, or until the 6 inches of compost decomposed into a minute amount of soil. As proof for this I show the farmlands of central Texas which has what is known as Heavy Blackland Clay soils. On range land when it has heavy rain and cannot drain it away the same thing happens as with your property. But right next door is a farm which has been producing for decades with each year the crop residue being disc plowed back into the soil. This soil absorbs the water. But, leave that same farm to go fallow for 5 years and it reverts to exactly what the range land does, it become a quagmire again.
 
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The structure of heavy clay soils have been subjected to every nuance of soil structure experiments known and the only thing that has been learned is that organic matter incorporated over decades into clay soil helps with soil friability. If you could take the top 16" of your clay and spread it out 1 inch deep and then incorporate 6 inches of compost you would achieve what you are looking for, for a limited amount of time, or until the 6 inches of compost decomposed into a minute amount of soil. As proof for this I show the farmlands of central Texas which has what is known as Heavy Blackland Clay soils. On range land when it has heavy rain and cannot drain it away the same thing happens as with your property. But right next door is a farm which has been producing for decades with each year the crop residue being disc plowed back into the soil. This soil absorbs the water. But, leave that same farm to go fallow for 5 years and it reverts to exactly what the range land does, it become a quagmire again.
That makes me feel good about so much of that lawn which then did absorb water relatively rapidly. A lot of mulching grass and topical amendments of the years helps as you say. From your comments, I am one step closer to creating some form of char making furnace. It will have to have an afterburner given my neighborhood setting. However, that idea you mentioned about having to reload the soil after such and such period of time would be my actual target, as the charcoal will not go away so fast, and as it oxidizes and hold oxygen, it would serve a more permanent and friable purpose I suspect. Have you seen this work done?
 
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That makes me feel good about so much of that lawn which then did absorb water relatively rapidly. A lot of mulching grass and topical amendments of the years helps as you say. From your comments, I am one step closer to creating some form of char making furnace. It will have to have an afterburner given my neighborhood setting. However, that idea you mentioned about having to reload the soil after such and such period of time would be my actual target, as the charcoal will not go away so fast, and as it oxidizes and hold oxygen, it would serve a more permanent and friable purpose I suspect. Have you seen this work done?
Have you read the thread by @Johntodd named Biochar?
 
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I have a question off topic, kind of...Whenever the question is asked of what type of soil one has, it seems as if everyone says either sandy or clay, it seems to me; however, I don't recall anyone saying they have "silty" soil.

Why is that?

BTW, I have very sandy soil, but after years of heavy mulching, I feel it now can be classified as Loamy, much like a forest floor.
 
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I have a question off topic, kind of...Whenever the question is asked of what type of soil one has, it seems as if everyone says either sandy or clay, it seems to me; however, I don't recall anyone saying they have "silty" soil.

Why is that?

BTW, I have very sandy soil, but after years of heavy mulching, I feel it now can be classified as Loamy, much like a forest floor.
I suspect silt and clay are often confused, because both are so fine. But silt will settle out of a jar of soil test water, unlike my clay, which is so fine it makes silt particles look like boulders and remains suspended in my test jars indefinitely. When I was in Alaska, a great deal of silt was in the soil and water. I suspect the mineral makeup of the silt is also a component of what makes a silt silty, at least as far as grain size. Up north, mica and other shiny minerals were so prevalent that the water in rivers boiled with a pearlescent glow, where here in the south we have examples like the muddy mississippi river.
 
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I have a question off topic, kind of...Whenever the question is asked of what type of soil one has, it seems as if everyone says either sandy or clay, it seems to me; however, I don't recall anyone saying they have "silty" soil.

Why is that?

BTW, I have very sandy soil, but after years of heavy mulching, I feel it now can be classified as Loamy, much like a forest floor.
I think it is because folks don't understand the difference as they are similar. Clay particles are smaller than silt particles. Silty soil will drain much faster than clay. Clay soils will hold moisture and nutrients better than silty soils.
 
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I think it is because folks don't understand the difference as they are similar. Clay particles are smaller than silt particles. Silty soil will drain much faster than clay. Clay soils will hold moisture and nutrients better than silty soils.
Yes indeed, clay will hold nutrients and water, but it is so fine it prohibits oxygen in two ways just because of its physically fine size. And without that loose unattached oxygen, the biochemical processes involving nutrients simply stop.

One way O is prohibited is fairly logical, as the observation of the close quarters of the particle size can be seen in the layer of suffocating muck that lays upon the top of clay soil after raindrops disturb the clay and mix it into the mud puddle that forms and is left on top of poorly percolating clay after a rainstorm. Especially hardened by drying wind, the crust becomes almost hydrophobic to a degree, and because both liquids and gases are fluids, the water tightness is effectively pointing out how gas tight the soil can be as well.

The second way is more odd. Aside from the charged particles the pure elements soil is made of having some open electric phase that then attaches positively or negatively to other particles making molecules of a substance we would recognize as soil, the weathering action of oxygen and nitrogen also attaching themselves to elements of soil is constantly occuring. For what is then often referred to as mineralization of elements in clay, a common element in our clay is aluminum. This metal is toxic without oxygen, whereas aluminum oxide is relatively inert. The clay is so fine it is capable of stripping water of oxygen as the physical size of oxygen is quite a bit physically larger than hydrogen. As rains fall, and gravity does its work, clay is also acts as a very fine filter. As hydrogen increases disproportionally to oxygen, we measure the decrease in ph. Aluminum oxide, in the presence of acid, which is basically a high quantity of H, becomes stripped of it oxides (derusted) and unfriendly to plants at that point. Lime turns out to be a big deal. Whereas the rainwater is a ph 6 more or less, I finally figured out how to measure my soil and it started out with some areas showing me ph as low as 4.8 - 5.

The ability of proteins to feed hyphae that penetrate this type soil becomes very important to me. Biology unable to exist in low oxygen clay congregates near the tighter oxygen area at the surface, and any food placed on that surface disappears at a very rapid rate. Cow manure compost, soybean meal and other high protein amendments seem to have an outsized effect in my soil. Many plants that survive here have roots atop the surface.

Biochar, rotting wood and other methods that have a primary effect of oxygenation only help me, but that longevity of biochar carbon and its ability to exchange unattached oxygen to the environment really has my attention.

Wow that was a lot for a Saturday morning.
 
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Yes indeed, clay will hold nutrients and water, but it is so fine it prohibits oxygen in two ways just because of its physically fine size. And without that loose unattached oxygen, the biochemical processes involving nutrients simply stop.

One way O is prohibited is fairly logical, as the observation of the close quarters of the particle size can be seen in the layer of suffocating muck that lays upon the top of clay soil after raindrops disturb the clay and mix it into the mud puddle that forms and is left on top of poorly percolating clay after a rainstorm. Especially hardened by drying wind, the crust becomes almost hydrophobic to a degree, and because both liquids and gases are fluids, the water tightness is effectively pointing out how gas tight the soil can be as well.

The second way is more odd. Aside from the charged particles the pure elements soil is made of having some open electric phase that then attaches positively or negatively to other particles making molecules of a substance we would recognize as soil, the weathering action of oxygen and nitrogen also attaching themselves to elements of soil is constantly occuring. For what is then often referred to as mineralization of elements in clay, a common element in our clay is aluminum. This metal is toxic without oxygen, whereas aluminum oxide is relatively inert. The clay is so fine it is capable of stripping water of oxygen as the physical size of oxygen is quite a bit physically larger than hydrogen. As rains fall, and gravity does its work, clay is also acts as a very fine filter. As hydrogen increases disproportionally to oxygen, we measure the decrease in ph. Aluminum oxide, in the presence of acid, which is basically a high quantity of H, becomes stripped of it oxides (derusted) and unfriendly to plants at that point. Lime turns out to be a big deal. Whereas the rainwater is a ph 6 more or less, I finally figured out how to measure my soil and it started out with some areas showing me ph as low as 4.8 - 5.

The ability of proteins to feed hyphae that penetrate this type soil becomes very important to me. Biology unable to exist in low oxygen clay congregates near the tighter oxygen area at the surface, and any food placed on that surface disappears at a very rapid rate. Cow manure compost, soybean meal and other high protein amendments seem to have an outsized effect in my soil. Many plants that survive here have roots atop the surface.

Wow that was a lot for a Saturday morning.
Yep, that was a mouthful alright and correct.
 
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Yeah, I'm one of those who don't know the difference between Clay and Silt, only because I don't have much experience with either -- I only started gardening after retiring from the navy here in sandy Florida.

However, I did build a quick garden at my mom's house (Oxon Hill, Md) once when I was visiting up there in 2015, I can say that stuff is probably clay, but for all I know it's silt... It was very difficult to dig up and till and the shovel full of clumps did not fall apart easily and required quite a bit of stabbing with a shovel to break up.

I just planted a multi pack of wildflowers and they did grow fairly well, never added any soil amendments, because I knew that clay and silt are much higher in nutrients than rock (AKA sand).

I tend to think her soil was more on the silty side, because it didn't seem to hold water nearly as much as my uncle's land (Eastern shore of Maryland). There would be puddles there for days on end after a rain.

A little interesting tid bit of sandy soil. It doesn't drain nearly as fast as some people believe, although, relatively speaking it's lightning fast compared to clay and silt.

I can dig a small hole, only about 3-5 inches deep and wide and fill with water and that water will sit there for about an hour before it completely drains, compared to my loamy soil which drains it either immediately or over a course of minutes, depending on the ratio of sand to organic matter.
 
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This isn't very scientific but get a jar with a lid and fill it half full of your dirt. Then fill with water and shake it until it is a solution and then let it sit for a couple of hours. It will settle into layers and by measuring the layers you can tell more or less what your soil is. The bottom layer is sand, the second layer is clay, the third is silt and the fourth is organic matter.
 
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IMG_20181215_161235.jpg

In one picture, actually - hang on there is this other one..

IMG_20181215_161731.jpg


Ok, with two pictures, the clay sedimentary layer shown even over some leaf fall is obvious, and the ph reading, which I can only seem to read accurately with these soil ph meter sticks in moist, post rain soil, is shown. I am picking up 60 bags of pelletized limestone tomorrow, and hope to bring it up a point by spring. If I overshoot a little, its still ok. We average 56 or so inches of rain around here, and we have passed that already this year.
 

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