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Dry lot mud management - on a budget

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    Dry lot mud management - on a budget

    New farm = new mud... right? Ugh.

    We are on 11 acres, new construction, and newly cleared ground. The acreage has been cleared for a year and a half now. No red clay, all brown mud.

    My sacrifice paddock has no footing in it other than just the dirt. It held up wonderfully through the spring, summer and fall... And now it's under water. Thank you, Virginia winter.

    My thought is to scrape up the old hay, and re-level the area. Then put a base of gravel down with gravel dust on top. Even if it doesn't STOP the muck completely, I hope it will cut down on the muck.

    Thoughts? I know this isn't an ideal mud management solution (without true mud management) but I need to do this on a budget.

    Yes. Clean it as best you can then add a larger stone. We like 1 1/2 inch stone to dust which locally is called "Dusty 53" I would let that settle and then either add more of it, or your stone dust/chip combo which is called "Dusty 12"

    Personally, unless you pack it down well and spend money on a base it's going to settle and sink so I wouldn't add dust unless it looks like it drains well and remains solid and firm.


      If you're going to the trouble of scraping and buying stone, it's probably worth putting down some sort of barrier. Carpet can be had for free. Some people even put it down right on the mud, with nothing on top.

      Is drainage a problem, or is it just the organic layer staying soggy?


        Originally posted by scrbear11 View Post
        New farm = new mud... right? Ugh.

        We are on 11 acres, new construction, and newly cleared ground. The acreage has been cleared for a year and a half now. No red clay, all brown mud.

        My sacrifice paddock has no footing in it other than just the dirt. It held up wonderfully through the spring, summer and fall... And now it's under water. Thank you, Virginia winter.

        My thought is to scrape up the old hay, and re-level the area. Then put a base of gravel down with gravel dust on top. Even if it doesn't STOP the muck completely, I hope it will cut down on the muck.

        Thoughts? I know this isn't an ideal mud management solution (without true mud management) but I need to do this on a budget.
        Truly underwater? You'll have to excavate and direct drainage away from this area. I don't know if you can "just" level and fill; it will all wash away if it's not graded correctly. How many horses do you have? How much total fenced acreage? I know you want to save your pasture, but honestly they mainly destroy the area by the gate and shed (if you have one) and you can just dump rock there. I have 3 horses in a 5 acre field in the winter and it does just fine, and I'm also in VA.


          Original Poster

          The lot does drain well, which is why we chose this area as the sacrifice lot. It is muddiest near the gate. The other portion of the paddock stays fairly firm, even with recent rain.

          I think the muck is just new soil since this area was recently cleared. The mud is deep here. My thinking is may if we strip away the mucky dirt we will have a more firm base... Or we will make a huge mess...

          But yes, it does seem to drain. It's just a deep mucky mess.


            Are you thinking of having a load of "stone" delivered? Can they get near the location on SOLID ground? If not, do you have equipment to move the material from an area that the large trucks can access to the muddy area?

            I ask these questions because once the ground is soft it will be impossible to get the drivers of said trucks to drop a load of material if they have to cover soft ground. They will get stuck and/or break a shear pin...the pin is not necessarily expensive, but it is costly in down time and they are probably stuck and will need a BIG tow truck to get them out AND leave a huge mess.

            You may have to do a temporary repair by purchasing bags of gravel at your home and garden center or feed store. Some land scaping centers have it so you can purchase a truck bed or trailers worth of gravel. You could test what would work best (or at all) over a small area with a few different bags of gravel.

            In my experience, for a quick fix, just adding some large stone/gravel to the area may be enough to firm the area up enough to make it serviceable until you can get it done properly once things have dried up. You may be able to get away with only doing part of the gateway until it can be done properly. My horses prefer to walk on the firmer footing and will avoid mud and standing water if possible. By creating a firm, dry area, they will probably avoid the area of the gate that hasn't been improved. That will help control the continued degradation of the soil in the gateway.


              Where in VA are you? I am on the VA/ TN border, if you are near me I can recommend contractors, I work in construction. Call your local site and grading contractors, they usually have leftover geotech fabric from jobs and can give you some for free or cheap to put down before the fill. If you ask them for the leftover scrap material you may be able to work out a deal with them on bringing you stone as well. They usually get it for a discounted rate. I get stone dust for $10/ton vs normal prices at $18/ton.


                Make sure that you're not dumping any additional water on the area - slope it so water runs off, and make sure any run-ins drain their water elsewhere, ideally via gutters that go to a specific dry well or other out of the way place for the water.
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                  Agree with Simkie you need to put down a barrier beneath the stone or it will eventually migrate down into the soil & you're back to Square One.

                  I had my dirt paddock scraped down 9", then geotextile laid & 6"roadbase over that.
                  The road base is gravel, some rounded, some angular - pieces anywhere from 1" diameter to fist-sized.
                  After 6+yrs the area is mud-free.
                  Shallow-rooted weeds do come up, but are grazed down or trampled by horses.
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                    If you are going to scrape and buy gravel, buy some geotextile fabric and put it down too. How big an area are you taking about? I concur that getting a fully loaded dump truck in on wet muddy ground will be tough.
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                      Geotextile fabric is not enormously expensive. Definitely use it as others have suggested.