How to Soften Dirt


Soils that are heavy or hard include a high proportion of clay and low levels of silt and sand, which causes the soil to become compacted and difficult to till. Clay makes up a large portion of heavy or hard soils. This is particularly the case when the clay soils lose all of their organic content, which lightens the texture of the soil by preventing the clay particles from adhering together. Clay soil may be made more workable and fertile by amending it with compost or other organic matter that has undergone decomposition. If you have a clay soil lawn or garden, this can be done.

  1. 1. Moisten the Soil to Start

    Attach a rotating sprinkler head at the end of a garden hose using the appropriate screws. Place the sprinkler in the middle of the region that has hard soil so that the water spray from the sprinkler will cover the whole of the soil. The sprinkler should be allowed to run while the water is turned on, and a half an inch of water should be applied. The soil should be left alone for a day after the sprinkler has been turned off.

  2. 2. Repeat the Moistening Process

    Turn on the sprinkler and leave it on for a sufficient amount of time so that it soaks the ground with an additional half an inch of water. The water will be able to penetrate the ground more deeply into the soil if you wait one to two days after turning off the sprinkler and letting the soil rest.

  3. 3. Break Up the Soil

    Take out the sprinkler and roll up the hose, then leave the area. Using a spading fork, remove the top 8 inches of dirt from the surrounding area while working your way over the whole area. Turn over each scoop of dirt, revealing the wet side that was below. The clods of dirt may be broken up into tiny pieces by hitting each scoop of soil with the side of the fork. Two days should be allowed for the soil to dry out.

  4. 4. Moisten the Soil Again

    A little mist of water should be applied to the surface of the soil that has been turned over using a garden hose. Lightly moisten the soil by adding just the right amount of water to cause its surface to become wet and pliable.

  5. 5. Break Up and Smooth the Soil

    By using a garden rake to work over the top of the soil, you can break up any leftover clods and make the surface of the soil more even. Work your way across the whole space by moving back and forth in rows.

  6. 6. Add Organic Material

    Utilizing a shovel, apply a layer of compost that is 2 inches thick all over the soil. Utilizing a rototiller, incorporate the compost into the top eight inches of the soil. Repeat this procedure until you have a ratio of soil that is equal to that of compost that is equal to that of soil (this may take a year or longer, depending on the size of your plot and your access to compost). Pick a compost that was made from plants and was allowed to completely grow. If the compost has not been completely decomposed when you apply it to your plants, the continuous breakdown of the compost will use up nitrogen in the near term, which will prevent the plants from using the nitrogen. It is possible to use well-aged manure in the combination; however, you should avoid using too much of it since doing so might cause a buildup of salts.

  7. 7. Apply Gypsum to the Soil

    Gypsum, also known as calcium sulphate, should be applied to the soil at a rate of one pound for every five square feet. If you have clay soil, adding gypsum to it will help bind the organic matter to the soil particles, which will prevent the soil from drying up and crusting over or breaking. Although it contributes calcium to the soil in the same way that lime does, gypsum does not alter the pH of the soil in the same way that lime does. First, use the rototiller to incorporate the gypsum into the top 8 inches of soil, and then use the rake to make the surface of the soil smooth. If you’re trying to improve a lawn that has clay soil, you should reseed the afflicted region. After you have applied the amendments to the soil for your flower or vegetable garden, you may begin planting as soon as the additives have been worked in. If you do not intend to plant anything in the area right away, you should cover it with a thick layer of mulch to avoid erosion and limit the rate at which water is absorbed. If you do not take preventative measures, your labour may be literally erased by a few intense downpours.

  8. 8. Seed the Lawn or Beds

    In order to prevent additional compaction of the soil, digging or tilling the ground while it is wet to the touch should be avoided. Before working the soil, wait until it has a moist feel to it.

    Things You Will Need

    • Garden hose

    • Pulsating sprinkler

    • Spading fork

    • Garden rake

    • Compost

    • Shovel

    • Rototiller

    • Gypsum


    Never produce a soil combination that contains more than fifty percent compost, since doing so will result in growth issues for the plants you’re growing.

    Never create a soil mixture containing more than 50 percent compost as this will cause problems with plant growth.