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 Post subject: Expanded Shale??? Help!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Denton,Texas
A month ago I was shopping at an organic nursery in Murphy and the guy sold me what I thought was Expanded Shale the soil ammendment that Howard has been talking about I hope I didn't get the name wrong...Anyway I was making some poting soil and went to add some in and thats when I noticed the bag said"compacted clay" I think? It looks like large clay kitty litter!!! Any one know what that is? and what it's good for? Is it like expanded Shale? What should I do??Help Thanks DD


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 9:11 pm
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Location: Keller (North FW),Texas
The description you gave sounds like the expanded shale that I have used. Just mix it in with the soil, if it is clay (which I beieve expanded shale is a type of), it will still bind nutrients and hold moisture. Here is an article from TAMU. :mrgreen:

Quote:
November-December 2003

Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Expanded Shale - A new Possibility for Amending Clay Soils

by Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, Professor & Landscape Horticulturist, Texas A&M University
A form of expanded shale is now available to gardeners that will be useful in loosening tight clay soils and making them more workable.

'Blue Shale' from the Midway Shale formation is present in a pattern across Texas through Corsicana to Texarkana and stopping near Laredo. It is usually found 10-15 feet underground. It was formed during Cretaceous times when Texas was a large lakebed and the lakebed sediments solidified under pressure into the present-day shale formation.

Jack Sinclair of TXI Industries has explained that the shale is mined and ground to 1" to l/2" range particles and then kiln fired. As it progresses through the kiln for 40 minutes at 2,000 degrees C, certain chemical processes take place in the silica content (60-70%) causing the material to expand. The expansion of Kitty Litter (calcined clay), for example, occurs at only 800-900 degrees.

As the material cools, cavities are left after gases escape, leaving a porous lightweight chunk capable of absorbing water and releasing it slowly at a later time.

Recommendations for using expanded shale with containerized plants call for putting one-third of the material in the bottom, then mixing the expanded shale with potting soil 50-50 for the rest of the pot.

For flower beds with sticky or gumbo-type soil, Dr. Steve George of the Texas Cooperative Extension recommends putting down 3 inches of expanded shale on top of the area, and tilling it in six to eight inches deep. Also add 3 inches of finished, plant-based compost as well, which results in a 6-inch raised bed. Crown the bed to further improve water drainage.

Dr. George also remarked:

"Based on a two-year research study and six years of field trials, I feel that expanded shale will open up and aerate heavy, sticky clay soils faster than any material that I have ever tested. Due to its porous nature, it provides aeration from within the shale particles and, in poorly aerated clay soils, resulted in a more extensive and healthier root system than did other treatments being tested....Even though I dearly love finished, plant-based compost, if I were limited to only one application of one soil amendment with which to open up heavy clay soils, I would take expanded shale and never look back!"

Several trials are underway at the present time to test the long-term effects of using expanded shale. Last June Dr. Frank Allen and the city of Duncanville laid out perennial flower beds in black gumbo and the city of Carrolton (situated on Blackland Prairie soils) is working on field trials with Dr. Steve George. Trials include working with black gumbo only, lava sand with gumbo, compost with Blackland soil, and compost and expanded shale in existing soil. It is anticipated that the lightweight material might create a permanent physical change in the blackland soil (or, according to Dr. George, last at least 10 years as a conservative estimate).
The amendment is now sold by the TXI Corporation under the brand name 'Tru-Grow.' It may be purchased in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and Navasota areas. Check with local garden centers and suppliers for availability in your area.

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"It begins with a garden... and becomes a way of life"
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:13 pm
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Location: Denton,Texas
Thank you for the info on expanded shale Scott!! that article is very helpful on how to use it...I was going to post that after listnening to Howard on Sunday.I do have Expanded shale...by Designer Dirt....So I will now Use this wonderful substance :D Thanks alot Scott..DeeDee


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:20 am 
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Location: Keller (North FW),Texas
Sure thing, glad I could help ya... :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:46 am 
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Location: Kingwood,TX
Our Magnolias were covering up all the front yard and the house, so the lower limbs closest to the ground were raised. Now having consulted with an arborist I've discovered that the ground covering provided an important protection from moisture evaporating since Magnolias have their roots close to the surface. :?: Bought two bags of Expanded Shale for two trees. How do you recommend I use it? There isn't any space to till the soil because of the roots.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:21 am 
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Location: Weatherford,TX
I can think of only two options, on top of soil (not a great idea) or aerating the area. If you are aerating, do a much larger area than the drip line of plant. If you rent an aerator, you might as well do your entire yard. Apply additional amendments (like sick tree treatment), not just expanded shale. If you only want to do the Magnolia, use a gardening fork to punch the holes. Try to get about 6" deep, open holes so you can get the amendments down where they will do the most good.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 10:08 pm 
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Location: Kingwood,TX
Thanks KHWOZ! :D


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 10:37 am 
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If you are going to use an aerator, the best thing to do afterward is to spread about half an inch of good quality compost. You can get some great compost in bulk at Soil Building Systems. I'm a long time customer, and I have had a complete educational tour of this incredible operation. The manner in which products are handled is very impressive. I highly recommend Soil Building Systems!

http://soilbuildingsystems.com/

If you go, please tell them Nadine referred you, and if you are a Ground Crew member, you will get a discount!

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