Improving The Condition Of Your Garden Soil Using Drainage.

By: Susan Sportman


Excessive drainage in sandy soil can be a nuisance, you have to water frequently in dry weather and it is necessary to build up a water-holding structure by adding as much organic matter as you possibly can. Faulty drainage is much more merely a nuisance, it can be a plant killer. Stagnant water laying all around the roots starves them of air.

Helpful bacterial activity is delayed and harmful organisms flourish. Toxic gases build up and the overall result is poor growth to start with followed by the eventual death of the plants if conditions do not improve.

Poor drainage is caused by heavy topsoil. Water moves very slowly through clay, so the answer is to improve the structure by cultural means. impeded drainage is a more major problem, because the downward movement of water is not just delayed - it is blocked.

There are actually three prime causes:
Non-porous rock below the soil, a sub-surface pan below the topsoil or a high water table in the area (the level at which porous rock is saturated with water). Soils with impeded drainage are saturated for long periods during the winter time, so some remedial action is vital.

Either of the following methods mentioned below could potentially solve your predicament. Everything is dependent upon what difficulty you find yourself having to face along with the type of soil you have.

Cultural Aids:
Poor drainage caused by a higher clay content in the topsoil may be improved by double digging in the autumn. On no account should the rough clods be broken down at the time of digging - leave them to be crumbled by the action of wind and frost during the winter months.

Double digging can also break up a thin soil pan and so permitting water to drain through. Occasionally the sub-surface pan is just too thick to be penetrated with an ordinary garden fork, instead use a pickaxe or steel bar and sledgehammer. In rare|In some cases} the pan cannot be broken. You will probably then have to use a man-made drainage system or else raise the level with brought-in-soil.

The crumbs created by digging provide temporary relief, but you must build up a permanent crumb structure by adding heavy dressings of organic matter at regular intervals. Add calcium in the form of lime or chalk if the soil is acid - use gypsum if it is neutral or alkaline.

If the causes of poor drainage is either non-porous rock close to the top or an abnormally high water table, an artificial aid is usually recommended. Laying drains is a costly, tough and time consuming job, it is often better to tackle the problem by raising the soil level. Buy good quality topsoil and add it to the whole surface if the garden is small or use it to fill raised beds.

Artificial Aids:
A tile drainage system consists of a herringbone pattern of plastic or earthen ware tile drains. A rubble drainage system is formed in the same way, but the drain pipes are left out.

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I have been a keen gardener for many years now, but no one has all of the answers. If I ever need help I always use a company called Home Repairs. They are always willng to offer help and advice as and when I ask them for it.

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