East Tennessee Red Clay "soil" & Daylilies

Spring City, TN

No typical topsoil unless I bring it in. What we have is red clay mixed with a little limestone churt (busted up soft pieces the size of small pebbles or large grains of sand) but it's no where near enough to make the clay "livable"... however we're on a steep hill so lots of natural drainage.

I've got 1y home-grown compost (horse manure & straw - it came out of the neighbor's stable dump pile that way) and double digging it into the clay beds. And since I have a LOT of pinetrees, pine needles get incorporated whether I like it or not, year round.

I can add something like Pro Mix (peat moss & vermiculite) to lighten the soil further... or??? I'll test ph when I'm done amending the structure. Any recommendations for mostly clay "dirt" - thanks.

And there are areas where I'm digging 4x as needed holes and putting in lots of compost and having to leave bare red clay between.... any advice on mulch for bare red clay slopes?

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

I am not good on recommending amendments ..... but it sounds like you are on the right track.

Could you use the pine straw as a mulch..... I have heard it makes a wonderful mulch and stays compacted well to keep out grass and weeds. I have no idea whether it stays put on the clay ??

Hazel Crest, IL(Zone 5a)

Raised bed would be better in the long run imho.

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