R. Morgan wrote:I have a hard white clay subsoil with a small amount of dusty brown soil on top. Grass struggles and is slow growing. Soil is acidic.
I am thinking of adding lots of horse manure to improve soil structure , moisture holding capacity and fertility. This is a smallish area
of irrigated pasture (in South Australia) which I need to establish. I need to find out what deep rooted plants to put in the mix, where to get the seeds for
it in small enough quantities and really.......... everything
All ideas appreciated.
Hi again, The hard sub-soil can be broken up by planting deep rooted plants. Alfalfa, crown vetch, clover (get a tall kind and the roots will correspond to do the breaking up the sub soil).
If you can't get grasses to grow there now, you will shortly after those nitrogen fixing plants have established themselves and the grasses and other plants will be ideal for pasture for your animals. They will also help the grass get deep roots.
I prefer using crown vetch because of how deep the root system is. I stay away from alfalfa because I have to keep replanting it. The other benefit to the crown vetch, IF it is legal to grow in your area, -it doesn't cause bloating in runimant animals. IF you are in a restricted area who does not allow crown vetch, hairy vetch might be an option.
If you have a problem getting the nitrogen fixer started, then you may have to dig in some plants of them first. As the plants establish, you won't need to add manure to the area again.