Forum home Garden design

Poor drainage

JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
Hi all,

My clay based soil has always got wet in winter, only today has it really been obvious as Id dug out a tree and left the hole open.  We had some torrential last night and the rain finished mid morning.  By 1 oclock the hole was still the same level - water about 15-20cm below the surface. 

About 3m further down the garden the water was still pooled where I was planning to put down gravel and some bare root trees.

My question is about plant choices and in particular bare root trees - what kind of things should I avoid planting if they get this wet AW and conversely dry in SS?

Ive had twelve bare root beech in the ground since March, presumably they are drowning a bit, but how bad could it be for them?

Im thinking about putting in more bare root trees (cherry, amelanchier, japanese maple, undecided) where its currently waterlogged, and presumably will get so again a few times over winter - should I wait until spring or am I worrying too much?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,151
    The only way to address it is to add organic matter - lots of it. Manure, compost, leaf mould etc. That will improve the structure, and means soil will drain better in wet spells, and retain it in dry ones. 
    There's no short cut. 
    I can't plant anything without doing that first. I learned the hard way when I started gardening several decades ago. Clay soil is standard here, as is copious rainfall all year round - upwards of four feet or more. 

    Beech doesn't appreciate soggy conditions for a long time - most plants don't. Hornbeam is a better alternative in wet sites. If the soil is only wet over winter, it should eventually establish and cope.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I have a similar problem. You need to establish whether your ground has anywhere to drain to: if the water table is high improving the soil - which is always a good thing to do - will not prevent waterlogging. In this case, you can only solve the problem by raising the soil level, which isn't always possible. We have chosen to plant willows, alder and cornus, which tolerate wet soil very well and seem to cope in drought, once well established. We have a beech hedge which is at least 40 years old and is flourishing, so you may be ok, there. 
    If the waterlogging is occasional you can plant more vulnerable trees by mounding soil and planting into that, but you have to keep and eye on it because some soil will wash away and need replacing and regular mulching.
Sign In or Register to comment.