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Waterlogged ground

We lost a tree through the winter due to the roots becoming waterlogged. We have removed the tree, dug a large area around where we wanted the new tree to sit, we went wide and deep, putting in new topsoil, earth from around garden, grit and well rotted manure.  Soil was a dream to dig, planted new tree being careful of levels. Have just gone to plant something in area of tree and the hole filled up with water, what else can I do, we spent a lot of money on new tree?


  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,639
    What is the tree, and do you have any alternative sites on slightly higher, less waterlogged ground?

    You might have inadvertently created a bit of a sump, by making a pit in poorly draining soil and filling with freer draining material. There are plants that don't mind those conditions though so all's not lost
  • Now that you have pointed that out it makes sense.
    We are always being told to dig the soil and go deeper and wider when planting a tree and fill with compost etc.
    The tree is a Photinia and we really need it be in that area as it it to screen us from the neighbours that overlook us.
    Is there any way we can rectify what we have done?
    Thank you for your help.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    I'd avoid Photinia completely. They need good drainage and warmth, so it sounds like it's totally the wrong choice. Sorry. 
    I'd choose hedging shrubs  - Eleagnus or similar, [ or something like a Sorbus, Mountain Ash [the native one ] but if the ground is that bad, you  may need to amend it a good bit before planting anything. The only other way to possibly avoid the same problem is to create a raised bed so that you can get a higher soil level, but without seeing the position and site etc, it's difficult to advise.
    Can you post a couple of photos @Mickleton_Col? That might help with suggestions. The icon that looks like hills is the one for uploading,and if you can keep them under about 1MB they upload more easily.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • We chose Photinia as a) there are 2 existing ones to the right in the same border & they are OK and b) we wanted an evergreen to give year-round screening.
    You can see from the photo below that the waterlogged hole where we took out the new Photinia is between a Kanzan flowering cherry on the left and another Photinia to the left. Both these are doing OK as are the Ceanothus and the Crocosmia towards the back of the border.
    We have put some soil back in the hole, but you can see from this picture that there is still water sitting at about 1ft to 18" below the surface.
    Any ideas on how to rectify what we have done to create the problem?

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    There seems to be plenty of other planting to soak up excess water, so it shouldn't be too problematic. if Ceanothus is thriving, it can't be too wet and soggy   :)

    Did the water just appear though? Could there be a burst pipe somewhere? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • We have very clay soil and in one area we planted an everygreen Azara serrata.
    It has fragrant small flowers late winter/early spring and whilst it doesn't like being battered by the winds it comes back and is a good small tree/shrub in the area it is in.
    It is planted near an old water ditch which when it rains the soil is very wet.
    It grows enough to shelter you from neighbours and all year round.
  • The only area that is waterlogged is where we took out all the rubble and clay. We have made it free draining in that area, so much so, the rest of the border and even the lawn want to drain into that area. The problem is that the already purchased Photinia needs to sit in that area to block the overlooking neighbours.
    We are wondering if we can put some hardcore back in the bottom of the hole, not too solid and some clay soil on that and then the better soil, would this help and is the expensive tree likely to live?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,190
    No - you'll just create a sump if you put stones/hardcore in the bottom, especially if you then add clay soil over it. 
    It would be better to add organic matter which will aid drainage, and raise the soil level there before planting. Well rotted manure, and some better soil, rather than the clay. If you have homemade compost, that's also useful for improving the soil structure.
    It's quite possible that once you have the Photinia in place, the moisture will get used up more readily anyway.  :)

    If the excess water from the rest of the bed is draining to that area, perhaps you need to add a small sump area further away, and try diverting it a bit, or having a proper drain nearby. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,419
    Fairygirl said:
    No - you'll just create a sump if you put stones/hardcore in the bottom, especially if you then add clay soil over it. 

    Exactly what I thought when I saw Pru Leith's gardener "adding grit for drainage" under her fruit tree to replace the dead one in waterlogged soil. 
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