GARDENING: Nine tips to help a waterlogged garden recover

Make the most of a soggy garden by planting things like a water iris.
Make the most of a soggy garden by planting things like a water iris.

Has your garden suffered waterlogging in the recent wet weather?

Here’s nine tips to help it recover:

1. Vegetable gardeners shouldn’t sow until the soil is dry enough - start off crops in modules.

2. Waterlogging and compaction can create ideal conditions for phytopthora (root rot) and other fungal attacks.

3. Remove any dead, diseased or dying shoots as soon as you see them so disease doesn’t spread.

4. When the soil has started to dry out, dig it over to help create an open structure. Work from boards to avoid compaction.

5. Fruit trees and bushes may suffer from root rots and be liable to wilting in hot, dry spells. Mulch, water and feed during the growing season to encourage new root growth.

6. In clay soil, use plenty of organic matter and horticultural grit before planting to improve soil structure and drainage. Nutrients will have been washed away in free­-draining soil, add compost to bulk up the soil and add nutrients.

7. Build a drainage system or soakaway. Dig ditches filled with gravel to drain water away, or talk to a builder about a pipe drainage system.

8. Replace losses with water­tolerant trees and shrubs, such as Cornus alba, C. stolonifera, Hydrangea macrophylla, H. paniculata, Kerria japonica, Leycesteria formosa, Weigela, Salix, Betula, Sambucus, Liquidambar, ash and amelanchier.

9. If things are really soggy, make a bog garden, which is an excellent habitat for wildlife. Suitable plants include Iris ensata, I. laevigata, I. pseudacorus, I. sibirica, primulas, Actaea, Astilbe and Carex, plus the magnificent leaves of Gunnera, hostas, Rheum and Rodgersia.

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