How to Ease Garden Water-Logging

Welly boots in garden

The start of Autumn has been a very wet one and it might not be over yet. While our gardens can withstand a certain amount of water, prolonged spells of sitting water may cause some damage. It might be too late this time, but a few steps can help ease the strain on your garden during water-logging.

The Damage Done

Soils become waterlogged when water builds up and is unable to drain away. Prolonged periods of sitting in ground saturated with water and leaves no air spaces in the saturated soil causing yellow leaves, root rot and death, plant roots literally drown.

The good news is, short-lived flash floods after a downpour seldom harm most plants. It is prolonged, saturated soil that causes the most damage. With localised flooding becoming more common, conditions can be improved using various techniques to promote drainage and prevent damage.

What You Can Do About It

In the short term:

After flooding, wash down hard surfaces and collect up debris to prevent drains blocking, soil surfaces being covered, and pollutants or contaminants lingering in the garden. Keep off the soil until it is workable, to avoid compacting it and worsening the condition, remove damaged shoots from affected plants if you can get to them.

After flooding, edible crops near to harvest are best not eaten: no assurances can be given that root crops will be safe to eat, so they should be discarded. Plants eaten raw should be discarded too, and it is prudent to avoid growing salads and other uncooked crops for two years in case disease spores remain in the soil. If plants have noticeably suffered, apply a balanced fertiliser in the spring, mulching over the root area after application to encourage new strong growth. Water thoroughly in dry spells after a waterlogged period, as plants will be more susceptible to drought stress not so much a concern now but worth noting for the spring and summer.

In the long term:

Improve soil structure and drainage through cultivation and avoid smearing the sides of planting holes on heavy soils – or prick the sides of the hole with a fork before planting. Planting trees on a slight mound can be helpful is you see regular winter wet in your garden; this elevates the trees from the main problem. Growing plants, especially crops for harvest, in raised beds help immensely.

Choose permeable surfaces when laying drives, paths, and patios to allow rain to soak in, roofs converted into living green roofs absorb stormwater and release it slowly. If there is somewhere for the water to go, drainage can be installed, or water butts can help prevent overflow from drainpipes.

Suffering from drainage issues? Our Aftercare team can help, call them today on 0330 202 1955.


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