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meth
01-24-2011, 11:26 AM
Okay guys need some help and advice please. I have a section of my yard that tends to hold water. After a heavy rainfall about a 20x30 section will pool up a few inches deep and sit there for a week to dry up. I have had an excavator out who brought in fill and did some re-grading a little over a year ago. Well 4k later and I still have this same issue on two different areas of the lawn. I had him back out again and now he wants to install drainage pipes to move the water out.

Sounds like it should have been the first approach instead of the 4k fill job. Anyway, I really don't have much $ to put into it this year so I am hoping to tackle it (at least temporarily) with some water loving tress to soak up as much water as possible in the yard. I know weeping willows are supposed to be great at this but they are so messy I don't want to plant them.

Doing some research I have come up with Red Maples, swamp magnolias and river birch as options. I am in zone 6A.

The question I have is will these trees absorb enough water to make a difference or am I just throwing money in the wind?

Kiril
01-24-2011, 11:43 AM
Okay guys need some help and advice please. I have a section of my yard that tends to hold water. After a heavy rainfall about a 20x30 section will pool up a few inches deep and sit there for a week to dry up. I have had an excavator out who brought in fill and did some re-grading a little over a year ago. Well 4k later and I still have this same issue on two different areas of the lawn.

The only thing this is going to accomplish is help move surface water, not fix the problem.

I had him back out again and now he wants to install drainage pipes to move the water out.

Sounds like it should have been the first approach instead of the 4k fill job.

You need to determine why you are getting ponding in these areas (compaction, impermeable layer, etc...).

Anyway, I really don't have much $ to put into it this year so I am hoping to tackle it (at least temporarily) with some water loving tress to soak up as much water as possible in the yard. I know weeping willows are supposed to be great at this but they are so messy I don't want to plant them.

Doing some research I have come up with Red Maples, swamp magnolias and river birch as options. I am in zone 6A.

The question I have is will these trees absorb enough water to make a difference or am I just throwing money in the wind?

IMO, planting a tree may or may not help. It might impact the length of ponding time, however that depends entirely on root distribution. The only reasonable way to deal with this is to either increase your soils saturated hydraulic conductivity or to (re)move the surface water.

meth
01-24-2011, 11:53 AM
Thanks - I realize I will need to do a more permanent solution for this issue, however I just can't undertake this project this year and I am trying to dry out the yard for the kids. That's why I was hoping to plant some water hungry trees to at least get me 50% better in the short term.

Afterwards in the next couple of years I will install some drainage

CorkscrewWillow
01-24-2011, 12:08 PM
Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) or London Plane tree (what you'll find in most nurseries), Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) would be on my list as well as the River Birch and silver maple.

All of these trees have other issues, Sycamore fruit balls, Shallow roots, weak structure, acorns, etc.
But as I often say, by the time they get big enough to show these problems, 20+ years from now, you'll most likely have moved and it will be the new homeowners problem but at least there won't be any water in the yard:laugh:

meth
01-24-2011, 12:17 PM
Corkscrew - so have you had success with "dryin" up wet areas with these trees? If the problems come 20 years down the road with the trees, I would sure hope to have moved on by then.

I'm hoping this is a real option for me and that I don't end up planting trees and still having the same ponding in the areas.

starry night
01-24-2011, 12:25 PM
The problem is that you can't plant a tree big enough to do you any good in the short term. Even if you had a big tree mover put in something with an eight-foot root ball (costing thousands of dollars), it wouldn't have enough roots to do you any good for, I'm guessing, several years.

If an excavator digs down in that area they would probably find the reason for the poor drainage.

meth
01-24-2011, 12:34 PM
Thanks - I know the answer is to dig againa and probably install some proper drainage. The probelm is $ right now and after investing so much in it already I just can't do it in the short term

CorkscrewWillow
01-24-2011, 12:44 PM
I will admit that planting trees is a long term fix as d and h alluded to.
I have two clients with similar issues and the trees have helped, planted 3-5 years ago, but it does still remain wet in the areas, though not as long.
I have also been improving the soil, aeration, organic matter, etc.

Your wet area may be a result of construction compaction at your home site.
It could be from subsoil (clay) that is now on the surface from construction.
Or something else.

Check your soil for some issue or have some drainage installed and just send the water downhill to your neighbors ;)

Kiril
01-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Thanks - I know the answer is to dig againa and probably install some proper drainage. The probelm is $ right now and after investing so much in it already I just can't do it in the short term

You need to get someone out there who knows soils and how to audit them. It may be possible to drain the water in these low spots to a more permeable layer, if one exists. That would be the cheapest, short term solution.

meth
01-24-2011, 12:57 PM
Thanks again - lucky enough its the back portion of my property and at least 40 ft from the house. After a rain the majority of it is soggy and then these two areas of pooling. It makes mowing impossible unless we get a week of dry weather.

The weird thing is this is fairly new (within 2 years). The house is 20 years old and in speaking with the neighbors they have never seen any water issues previously so I am not sure what has changed

Kiril
01-24-2011, 01:05 PM
Thanks again - lucky enough its the back portion of my property and at least 40 ft from the house. After a rain the majority of it is soggy and then these two areas of pooling. It makes mowing impossible unless we get a week of dry weather.

The weird thing is this is fairly new (within 2 years). The house is 20 years old and in speaking with the neighbors they have never seen any water issues previously so I am not sure what has changed

In that case, your soils bulk density is probably what has changed, most likely due to poor soil management.

meth
01-24-2011, 01:11 PM
Kiril,

How is this addressed? Is it something I have done?

Kiril
01-24-2011, 01:28 PM
Kiril,

How is this addressed? Is it something I have done?

Possible causes for soil degradation over time include (but not limited to) poor irrigation water quality and scheduling, pesticide and fertilizer applications, physical compaction (ex. traffic, especially when soil moisture approaches saturation), cultural practices (ex. removing clippings), etc....

The best way to address it is to get your management practices under control (if they are not appropriate) and maintain a good percentage of organic matter in your soil, 5-8% being ideal.

meth
01-24-2011, 01:54 PM
I'm thinking that two years ago we had a severe week of rain, 6+ inches where the easement in the back of the property overflowed causing the yard to flood and water laid there under 2 feet of water. It was a one time freak occurence but everything has changed since

White Gardens
01-25-2011, 04:50 PM
The weird thing is this is fairly new (within 2 years). The house is 20 years old and in speaking with the neighbors they have never seen any water issues previously so I am not sure what has changed

You might never figure it out. Last summer was the first time that we actually went through a real dry spell in about two years.

Previous to that, we've had some of the wettest and coolest summers on record. With all the rain, people were having problems with water that they never experienced before.

I've seen drain tiles in neighborhoods that nobody knew existed until they plugged up and water stood in the yards.

meth
01-25-2011, 05:16 PM
I agree, thats why I am hoping to plant some trees to help absorb some of the water. Its been crazy couple of years

White Gardens
01-25-2011, 10:22 PM
You could just go rent a 6 inch wide, walk behind trencher and install a 4" drain tile yourself. It would probably be 300 bucks in the end, depending on the distance you have to go.

The thing is you would have to miss all utilities in your yard, including the sewer pipe and such, so you would have to have everything marked and researched before you did it.

Even then you might have to hand dig those "suspect areas" to make sure you don't break something.

That or get a 300 dollar load of dirt dumped in your drive and hump it all back there yourself.

Kiril
01-25-2011, 10:53 PM
That or get a 300 dollar load of dirt dumped in your drive and hump it all back there yourself.

He already spent 4K on doing that very thing. What makes you think bringing in more topsoil is going to help?

gunsnroses
01-26-2011, 12:59 AM
The weird thing is this is fairly new (within 2 years). The house is 20 years old and in speaking with the neighbors they have never seen any water issues previously so I am not sure what has changed

Do you have a septic system? Possibly a big turd or tree roots blocked in the leach field somewhere and has saturated the surrounding soil. Like you said...new within 2 years? how bout some pics

meth
01-26-2011, 09:15 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I do have a septic system, the issue I am having is beyond the septic leech lines, maybe 30ft passed the last line is where it starts. I can't post pics yet as we are snow covered, however as soon as I can I will.

There are definitly some "low" areas of the lawn that have settled, but thats just a small portion of the problem. As I stated before I put in 4k to an excavator not too long ago, who did a great job of tearing up my lawn, spreading ~350 yards of soil and leaving me with the same problem.

I may have to rent a trencher and put in some drain pipe, however I have never done this kind of work myself.

To try and get a visual, I have about 1.25 acres in the back of the house, the house sits up high and then the yard slopes back. At about 50-60 ft passed the house the gradual slope decreases and it becomes pretty flat. Right at the flat portion it begins to get a little soggy, but I suspect the grade for the remainder of the yard is a bit off that may be causing this. Regrading the entire yar (again) would be at least another 4k and even worse having to deal with the wife complaining the whole time!

If I installed drain pipe, would I lay it horizontally across the yard? The width I would guess is 100ft or so. Then I would lay another horizantal row every 20ft or so, connecting them like a grid? Does that make sense?

Man I wish a few healthy trees could resolve this!

Kiril
01-26-2011, 09:53 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I do have a septic system, the issue I am having is beyond the septic leech lines, maybe 30ft passed the last line is where it starts. I can't post pics yet as we are snow covered, however as soon as I can I will.

There are definitly some "low" areas of the lawn that have settled, but thats just a small portion of the problem. As I stated before I put in 4k to an excavator not too long ago, who did a great job of tearing up my lawn, spreading ~350 yards of soil and leaving me with the same problem.

I may have to rent a trencher and put in some drain pipe, however I have never done this kind of work myself.

To try and get a visual, I have about 1.25 acres in the back of the house, the house sits up high and then the yard slopes back. At about 50-60 ft passed the house the gradual slope decreases and it becomes pretty flat. Right at the flat portion it begins to get a little soggy, but I suspect the grade for the remainder of the yard is a bit off that may be causing this. Regrading the entire yar (again) would be at least another 4k and even worse having to deal with the wife complaining the whole time!

If I installed drain pipe, would I lay it horizontally across the yard? The width I would guess is 100ft or so. Then I would lay another horizantal row every 20ft or so, connecting them like a grid? Does that make sense?

Man I wish a few healthy trees could resolve this!

IMO, you should do nothing until you get your soil audited. This is the first thing you need to do unless you want to continue to throw money away, and you cannot make a decision on how to proceed without it.

If you do decide to install drainage, you will install it perpendicular to the slope (i.e. across). This is not something you can just throw in, it needs to be properly designed based on site and soil conditions.

meth
01-26-2011, 09:58 AM
who would I call to check y current soil conditions? Sorry I sound like such a rookie here!

Kiril
01-26-2011, 10:06 AM
who would I call to check y current soil conditions? Sorry I sound like such a rookie here!

Good question, and a question I don't have an answer for. You might try and find a soils consultant in your area. Call your local county extension office to see if they can advise on someone appropriate (not a contractor). The point in all this is to determine what is causing the problem (other than the obvious slope issues), and how to effectively fix it with minimum investment.

For example, if you have a perched water table due to a shallow impervious (or relatively so) layer at the bottom of the slope, the most effective way of correcting this might be to break it up.