How Does ClayMend “Open” the Soil?
An open soil is a porous soil, one that has small air holes in it where air, water and fertilizer can easily reach the root system and the root system can stretch out as they develop. This open structure makes the soil easier to manage and friendlier to plants. It is said that the ideal soil is loam, a mixture of clay, sand and silt. The variety of sizes of these soil particles is what gives loam its open structure or its breathing room which refers to the air space that exists between these various particles. Clay also has a variety of soil particles, but at a much smaller scale. These small particles can be dispersed by sodium which can be introduced to the soil through salt from reservoir water, well water, animal waste, etc. Sodium from the salt disperses the finest particles of clay into the free air spaces in the soil resulting in restricted movement of air and water. The clay can get so compact that it is difficult for roots to develop.
Clay soil does have an advantage over soils comprised of sand and silt because clay has the ability to hold nutrients. In order to have the best of both worlds something has to change. Since we can’t force the sand and silt to hold nutrients, the other alternative is to amend the clay soil so that it becomes more porous and open to air and water flow and healthy root development.
ClayMend is designed to do exactly that. It encourages microbial activity which works to restructure the soil. This restructuring activity works by grouping these tiny clay particles together to create larger particles, more like the size of sand and silt. When these fine particles are grouped together they become too large to plug the air spaces and the soil becomes more porous. Over time this restructuring creates a soil texture that is more open, one that mimics loam soil but a richer soil that can hold more nutrients than loam. You end up with a soil that is easier to work and responds better to air and water flow.
The organic acids in ClayMend help to break apart salt in the soil and permanently bind the destructive sodium to the soil preventing it from doing further damage to the soil. The organic acids along with the microbial activity work to process nutrients in the soil and bind them to the clay particles. This stores nutrients that are readily available to the roots as the plants need them. Because the nutrients are stored in the clay, fertilizer efficiency is increased and less fertilizer is lost through runoff and volatilization. The microbial activity also moves the pH of the soil toward neutral and helps release nutrients previously suffering from nutrient tie-up associated with alkaline soils.
The microbes work well in a moist environment and even in temperatures that approach freezing. When snow is covering the ground, the soil may be warm enough for this activity to occur. In cold climates the microbes go dormant during the cold weather but when daytime temperatures rise enough above freezing activity can resume. Spring soils can improve greatly during this off season activity leaving your soil open and ready for new spring growth.