What to plant in problem soil. - Knowledgebase Question

Nashville, Te
Question by dwoods14
February 27, 2010
My yard is on the downhill slope so it collects water after it rains. I have seen as much as 1 inch of standing water in my yard. I would like to plant something with flowers, maybe a bush type or rose tree. What do you suggest?


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Answer from NGA
February 27, 2010

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There are some plants that will tolerate damp soils. Here's a short list:
Astilbe Full sun ? half sun; Bee balm Monarda didyma Full sun ? half sun;
Black snakeroot Cimifuga racemosa Half sun; Blue cardinal flower Lobelia syphilitica Half sun ? shade; Blue flag iris Iris brevicaulis Full sun ? half sun; Bluets Houstonia caerulea Half sun; Calla, common Zantedeschia aethiopica Full sun ? half sun; Canna Full sun; Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis Half sun ? shade; Cinnamon fern Osmunda cinnamomea Half sun ? shade; Crinum Full sun ? half sun; Daylily Hemerocallis Full sun ? half sun; Elephant?s ear Colocasia esculenta Half sun;
Foam Flower Tiarella Half sun ? shade; Forget-me-not Myosostis scorpioides Half sun;
Globeflower Trollius Full sun ? half sun; Goat?s beard Aruncus dioicus Half sun;
Golden ray Ligularia Half sun ? shade; Greater celandine Chelidonium majus Half sun ? shade; Horsetail Equisetum hyemale Full sun ? half sun; Iris laevigata Full sun ? half sun; Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis Full sun ? half sun; Japanese iris Iris ensata Full sun ? half sun; Joe-Pye weed Eupatorium purpureum Full sun ? half sun;
Louisiana iris Iris fulva Full sun ? half sun; Marsh marigold Caltha palustris Full sun ? half sun; Mint Mentha Full sun ? half sun; Monkshood Aconitum Full sun ? half sun; Moor grass Molinia caerulea Full sun ? half sun; New England aster Aster novae-angliae Full sun; Pentas Pentas lanceolate Full sun ? half sun; Queen of the Meadow Filipendula ulmaria Full sun; Perennial hibiscus Hibiscus moscheutos Full sun;
River oats Chasmanthium latifolium Full sun ? half sun; Siberian iris Iris sibirica Full sun ? half sun; Southern blue flag Iris virginica Full sun ? half sun
Spiderwort Tradescantia virginiana Full sun ? half sun; Swamp Hibiscus Hibiscus coccineus Full sun; Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata Full sun; Swamp sunflower Helianthus angustifolium Full sun; Sweet flag Acorus gramineus Full sun ? half sun;
Yellow flag Iris pseudacorus Full sun ? half sun.

Or maybe you can install a French drain. The French drain is a time-honored system for eliminating excess water from low points and other areas prone to saturated soil. French drains are quite simple: in essence they are just trenches filled with gravel, with sand on top of that. Often, you'll see French drains defined to include a drain pipe as well, though the traditional design is simply the gravel-filled trench. The advantages of French drains are low cost and easy installation. In addition, they can be covered over with turf after installation, making them less conspicuous. A French drain starts with digging a trench. The depth and width of the trench can vary, but 5 to 6 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches deep are common sizes and usually satisfy most needs. Grading is a critical consideration ? you must ensure that enough slope exists for the water to actually flow, and flow in the right direction. It might be adequate to check very short stretches of drain with a level to ensure that a slope exists to carry water in the desired direction. However, you should take whatever measures are necessary, including a survey and grading, if needed, to ensure that you have at least a 0.5 percent slope. A 1 or 2 percent grade is better. Add gravel to the trench to within a few inches of the surface. Gravel for this use is typically 0.5 to 1 inch in size. On top of the gravel, lay at least 3 or 4 inches of coarse sand. This provides a medium in which turf can grow so that the trench will not be visible. But remember that the sand must be coarse or it won't allow water to properly drain through.

Hope this information is helpful.

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