How to turn sand into soil
You only need to add Soil Solver once, and it is a permanent fix. The best soil for lawns and gardens is a rich loam soil, made of clay, silt and sand. Sandy ground repels water and does not hold onto moisture or nutrients. Soil Solver Clay Plus improves sand by adding clay, silt and an unique scientifically tested balance of natural minerals. These coat and fill the gaps between grains of sand, slowing the rate that water and nutrients travel downwards giving more opportunity for the plant to take up water and nutrients. The tiny clay particles aggregate together with humus and sand, forming peds of soil, which holds onto more water and nutrients - and stops organic matter disappearing.
It is the only clay product with a laboratory tested and scientifically formulated content of beneficial natural minerals, with the blend aged for over a year and ready to create an ideal soil to get plants off to a great start. The soil not only holds onto more water, the beneficial minerals also boost the numbers and variety of soil organisms which improves the overall health and vitality of soil. It is a permanent improvement, and in future you only need to add soil food, such as compost, and protect the soil life by covering it with mulch.
Can I use other clays to improve sand?
You will not get such a good result. Many clay soils include harmful minerals, like sodium salt, which can really set your garden backwards! Bentonite clays are unstable in soil because they swell a great deal when they get wet, and shrink when they get dry. Soil Solver is a stable product, friable and easy to use and includes the entire spectrum of secondary and trace elements needed to keep plants in tip top health. The natural minerals attached to the clay lattice are immediately available to plants. They are sourced from 7 different sites in Western Australia and blended to a unique formula that improves soil and plant health.
Compare clay products carefully by looking at a test report from an accredited lab (using ISO 14688 standards) to ensure the product is safe to use and contains at least 80% clay, silt and useful minerals. Be cautious with sand based products because the more sand is in a soil material, the more that you need to add to achieve a 5% clay content. For example, a 10kg bag of soil product described as 'clay' could be be 8 kgs of sand and only contain 2 kgs of clay. It is hard to tell the difference by looking at it unless you are an expert. On the short term, even new sand will be a cure for water repellency - but in a year or two it will be water repellant again.
(Download the Soil Solver lab test result here)
Soil texture descriptions
The permanent solution for sandy ground
Adding clay minerals is only part of the story, you also need to feed the soil with organic matter. The best part of adding Soil Solver clay minerals is it helps hold the valuable humus in the soil so it becomes naturally darker and richer as time goes on.The more Soil Solver minerals you add, the more fertile the soil is. If the garden is on a new build site with 'fill sand' in it, also add some worm castings or microbial boosters to help kick start the soil life. You can choose to add a little bit of Clay Plus and Mature Compost each year, or bite the bullet and add it all at once - there is no upper limit with how much you can add. (We advise against using a spent mushroom compost, because of the chemicals added to it as part of the preparation to grown mushrooms)
After treatment with Soil Solver products, the soil continues to improve each year as it holds onto increasing amounts of dark humus from aged organic matter.
Is it better than removing sand and filling the bed with a 'garden mix'?
Yes - you get a superior and permanent result making your own mineral soil blend using Soil Solver products.
A commercial soil mix is usually made of compost and organic matter mixed with sand which - without any clay in it - will only last for a year or two. It often contains sawdust or other cheap fillers, which quickly breaks down leaving just water repellent sand behind. If you buy a mix containing spent mushroom compost and sawdust you can struggle to grow healthy plants, and this is often the reason for many failures with growing tomatoes!
Professional Landscapers and Turf Professionals choose Soil Solver products
The Soil Solver method of sand conversion is used by many professional landscapers, the superior results combined with the cost efficiencies of avoiding removing sand and the fees to dump it make it a sensible choice. The premium ingredients create a soil packed with mineral rich clay, silts and humus which creates a water and nutrient retaining soil that will grow a lush, healthy garden for long into the future. Installing and renovating turf has been succesfully undertaken on premium tennis courts and sports grounds by professional greenkeepers for reduced use of water, fertiliser and a healthier growing turf that is untroubled by pests and diseases - and no need to use wetting agents in the future.
You can convert an entire area in one go, or add a little every time you plant a seedling, or a tree, and of course you can add it around existing plants too. Every plant deserves a water retentive and fully mineralised soil!
How much does it cost?
It starts at 80cents per kg and can be just a few dollars per plant. Remember that it is a permanent amendment that will pay for itself every year long into the future. A healthier mineral rich soil makes gardening easier and more productive, because healthy plants shrug off pests and diseases. Soil Solver Clay Plus is stocked in most independent nurseries and landscape supply yards, many offer competitive prices for bulk purchases. Or you can take advantage of home delivery services from our online store.
What is it made from?
Clay Plus is a unique blend of natural kaolin clay, and mineral rich rock dust and silts sourced from all over Western Australia, which is aged for over a year. It is blended to a unique formula to permanently improve and re-mineralise sandy ground. The mineral content is a carefully balanced formula which is regularly laboratory tested so that each batch is consistent for reliable good results with every bag.
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How much do I add?
The recommended base rate of 10kgs with 10 litres of mature compost per sqm should achieve a permanent cure for water repellency in most sands, ideal for water loving European plants like lawns and flower beds, but you might like to add more for a productive vegie bed. Native and drought hardy plants establish better given at least four or five handfuls of Clay Plus mixed into the sand around the planting hole, but do not add any compost to native plants sensitive to phosphates. Every time you add a plant make sure you give it a good start with Soil Solver Clay Plus and mature compost - you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
You can read more information on agricultural sites about how much to use - click here
Why do other products recommend lower amounts?
Because some clay types clump together and create water barriers, farmers use bentonite clay to line dams. Over 30 years of trials show that at least 5% clay is needed to permanently cure water repellency in sand, which with Soil Solver is equal to 7.5kgs per sqm of clay in the top 10cm. (A product with less clay in it would require more than that) Swelling bentonite clays are very plastic and sticky, and create water barriers if added at these rates and do not achieve a permanent cure for water repellency.
Trevor Cochrane (Garden Guru's TV ) trialled several clay products in his own garden, and found that the best results were from Soil Solver's Clay Plus. Even years later, that particular area still performs much better. Watch in the clip below.