Clay Soil Removed from Garden

(Question)

Good Day. I have read through the previous questions and answers on this topic but none are quite the same as my situation.
I have just planted a small redbud tree. To do so I dug over 3 ft into the ground and as expected encountered clay after the first foot. I placed most of the clay soil/clots in containers and replaced it in the hole with several bags of Triple Mix. I now have various containers full of clay soil scattered about the yard.
I have 2 large open plastic containers (about 2 ft by 2 ft) that I use to compost leaves and house plants/flowers. I am wondering if I can break up the clay clots manually and add them to the compost in small amounts – maybe a litre at a time. Would this work or should I add other materials to the compost or alternatively, just get rid of the clay soil?

(Answer)

I don’t envy you your clay soil.  You have quite a job ahead of you to amend your clay garden.  Composting your leaves and house plants is a good step.  You will want to add this compost and all your leaves to your clay soil to amend it for future planting.  Amending clay is a very slow process so you are in it for the long haul! But it is certainly worth starting.

As your leaves in your compost decompose they will work on breaking down the clay as well.  This may take a while, though.  You may want to dispose of your clay at this point and focus on adding compost and leaves to your existing garden.

One of the web sites below recommend that one not replace, but amend clay soil when planting trees.  The roots  will tend to stay in the triple mix which has the nutrition the roots need as opposed to working their way through the dense clay which does not have as much moisture or nutrition.

I think you will find this web site of interest:

 

 

https://www.finegardening.com/improving-clay-soils