Ask a Question forum: waterlogged garden clay soil

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morgie
Jun 16, 2016 11:29 AM CST
front garden 8m x 2m 6 rose bushes two raised flower beds total area covered with 50mm gravel
never been dug over, hard surface waterlogged after rainfall
new garden to us what can we do???

thank you in advance

edwin riches
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jun 16, 2016 12:34 PM CST
Hi Edwin. Welcome to NGA!

I guess your soil must not drain well - like it has too much clay or needs lots of compost or lots and LOTS of grit, coarse sand or bark chunks. (If the bed has sides and floors like plastic that do not allow water to drain, remove the plastic or punch holes in it! But you must already know that.)

If you have some slope to work with, you can dig some narrow trenches to give the water a path DOWN out of your beds and to a lower spot somewhere. Indeed, it might be good to arrange drainage for your whole yard: even grass doesn't like its roots drowning.)

If the water-blocking layer in your soil is thin, you might be able to dig a hole down through the clay to a layer that drains better. Like a well in reverse, it would allow rain water to flow down and into the deeper subsoil.

If there's no slope to work with, and the impermeable soil goes deep, you might have to make your raised beds more raised: taller walls. If rain IS going to flood your yard for days at a time, all you can do is grow plants in something tall enough that it has sufficient root zone ABOVE the flood level. At least get the bed tall enough that normal rains don't flood it.

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 16, 2016 8:27 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @morgie !

As a person who has made the mistake of planting in a spot that did not drain well... I would advise digging out the rose bushes and planting them (temporarily) in large pots while you amend the soil in the garden bed. I would say you need to dig down probably 1-1/2 to 2 feet and add a LOT of organic material to your soil, perhaps even some sand (which is what we did, with good results). It took some time, but our garden no longer has any standing water, even with a lot of rain. And, as Rick said, adding some trenches to direct water away from the planting area certainly couldn't hurt.

It would probably be helpful if we knew more about where you live (and garden) -- you can add that info to your "profile" and it will show up on the right-hand side of all of your posts.

I hope this is helpful! Smiling
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 20, 2016 6:21 PM CST
P.S.

My reading tells me that if you have a slope above your bed, and water runs down that slope and into your problem area, a good place to trench is ABOVE the bed.

Find an angle that will "Intercept" water running down that slope.

When water runs into the trench, the slope and angle of the trench WILL keep water going DOWN, since gravity insists on that. But if the angle is right, the water will also be guided at an angle instead of straight downhill. That angle should move it "sideways" towards some low spot OTHER THAN the spot where you hope to grow. (Also aim it AWAY from your house's foundation.)

If you divert the water off your property, consider whether the neighbor that receives it is related to lawyers. And some locations have draconian laws against seriously altering the flow of rain runoff - why, I'm not sure.

I usually trench BELOW my bed, to give water IN the bed an escape route.

But it is also smart to keep "uphill water" from ever reaching your bed.

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jun 21, 2016 10:41 AM CST
Do you mean standing water or simply an area that does not dry out quickly?
Pea gravel or dusty construction type gravel.
Dig a hole approx. a foot in diameter down at least two feet and see what is below it.

Roses use a lot of water.
[Last edited by RpR - Jun 21, 2016 10:43 AM (+)]
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ParjanaD
Jul 1, 2016 1:36 PM CST
If you are experiencing an issue with having a lot of standing water after rainfall, then you may want to consider the EGRP®.

This solution would allow rainwater to travel straight into the ground and would help prevent your garden from becoming a waterlogged mess.

Through the use of the EGRP® system, infiltration is enhanced by moving water more effectively and efficiently through the soil matrix and into the water table.
Additionally, the EGRP® system helps re-balance groundwater conditions by establishing new ways water can move to, and through, the soil.

The EGRP® has been highlighted by various newspapers and magazines, including Forbes, the Detroit Free Press and Crain’s.
The articles can be found by searching Parjana Distribution on Google.

This solution is affordable, and I think it would work perfectly your problem.

Please visit parjanadistribution.com to find out more information or feel free to get in contact with us by calling (855) 727-5262 or send an email to us at sales@parjanadistribution.com.

[Last edited by ParjanaD - Jul 1, 2016 1:36 PM (+)]
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