The recent wet weather conditions have continued for such a long period the ground is so saturated that any further rain creates land that becomes completed water logged.  This can cause great problems to the plants within such soils for as the water level rises the air is removed from the soil and carbon dioxide can not escape which leads to the plants roots dying.  Without roots the plant itself dies.  Indeed I read recently that a tree submerged for more than two weeks is likely to die.  The problem is there are few things we can implement whilst the ground is so wet.  It is important to keep off the ground as much as possible to reduce the physical compaction of the soil removing any soil structure and making the situation worse.

As the ground dried up you can help by roving any vegetation on the soil surface.  This will help to dry the soil out and ensures the top soil has a greater contact with the air above.  Damp dead leaves create a barrier the restricts such access.  Remove dying shoots and as the plant starts to make growth encourage it by applying a foliar feed.

Adding organic matter and a sharp horticultural grit will all help open the soil structure up encouraging air into the soil, and providing organic material for earthworms.  Often a good indicator of the health of a soil is the number of earthworms present.

Raised beds could be considered but these can be expensive and they need to be sufficiently wide enough to ensure they do not dry out too quickly.

Providing there is somewhere for water to go such as an existing ditch, drainage can be installed. Or, where appropriate, it may be worth digging out a ditch or seasonal pond at the lowest part of the garden.  This would catch surplus water and let it soak in slowly.  Here you could plant willows and flag iris which have root systems that have become adapted to deal in such water logged conditions.

Taking a tip from medieval farming methods you could plant on slightly raised mounds.  This mimics the plough and farrow method and provides the plant with a slightly elevated position.

A major factor in the flooding has been attributed to the paving over of front gardens.  I have posted various articles about this but if you do consider having a drive ensure you select a permeable method.  Discuss drive planning with your councillors and MP and see if we can help those in a lower catchment area by doing our bit.

There sadly are few quick fixes and inevitably come the Summer the ground will have drained and marginal plants will be struggling to obtain sufficient water.




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