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Advice on lawn currently in bad, wet condition?


 
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horizonuser
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Advice on lawn currently in bad, wet condition? Reply with quote

Hello,
I would like to hear any opinions on the following. I have been living in my house for about 4 years. Its on about 1 acre of land and the garden was rolled and sewn by the builder. Over the last number of years I have noticed that the garden gets VERY wet in the winter and is VERY dry in the summer.
During the winter, its so we that I can't walk on it until mid April, never mind cut it. It is so bad in some areas it looks a little bit like a paddy field!. As a result the grass is in poor condition there are even reeds growing in most parts.

I would really like to battle this this year as in the summer, when the ground is hard I can cut the grass and give the illusion that the garden is nice, the reality is that if you get close and even walk on it, you may be engulfed by the large weeds of break an ankle on the uneven surface.

Now, I know that I most likely need to get someone in, rip the whole thing up, lay french drains and reseed it correctly. The trouble is, this will never happen,as I would image this would cost a lot and I simply can't afford it.

Does anyone have any ideas how to tackle this problem?
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cooler
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it just particular areas of the garden that this occours in. Because if it is you could use those areas for something other than a lawn. Raised beds possibly, where drainage would not be a problem.
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horizonuser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes up about 25% of the whole garden but its all over it, not in just one place.
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Joaney
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Have you tried making holes with a fork and brushing in some sand this seems to have worked in an area of wet lawn I have.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on lawn currently in bad, wet condition? Reply with quote

A lot of problems there horizonuser.......

horizonuser wrote:

1. Over the last number of years.
2.the garden gets VERY wet in the winter and is VERY dry in the summer.
3. We that I can't walk on it until mid April, never mind cut it. It is so bad in some areas it looks a little bit like a paddy field!.
4.Grass is in poor condition there are even reeds growing in most parts.
5. if you get close and even walk on it, you may be engulfed by the large weeds of break an ankle on the uneven surface.


If this is as bad as you say, you do not have a lawn, you in fact have an area of badly drained ground growing some grass and weeds. This is a straight up case for starting again from scratch. Loosening the compaction in the topsoil, breaking or ripping the pan in the subsoil and possibly adding additional drainage in the worst areas.

horizonuser wrote:

Now, I know that I most likely need to get someone in, rip the whole thing up, lay french drains and reseed it correctly. The trouble is, this will never happen,as I would image this would cost a lot and I simply can't afford it.
Does anyone have any ideas how to tackle this problem?


Here is a previous thread with some useful links posted by member Verge...... http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=782 , simple aeration for light compaction and the installation of drains for more severe compaction.

Is there a high water table throughout the general district that your house is built in?

If you have a few pics of your site, I would love to see them, and tell you more.
Pics of the upper soil and the lower subsoil and pics of a test hole.

You can take the pics of the test hole while you carry out a test to see if it is actually your subsoil which is impeading the drainage.
A sample test goes as follows.....

Test drainage
Dig a hole approx 1 foot deep.
Fill with water and allow it to drain out completely.
As soon as the hole is empty, refill with water and measure the depth of the water with a tape measure.
After 15 minutes, measure how much the water has dropped in inches, and multiply this figure by 4 to work out how much water drains in an hour.

Less than 1 inch per hour is poor drainage and will mean you require ripping of the subsoil layer.
1 to 6 inches of drainage per hour is fairly ok, this indicates that it may be your topsoil which is compacted. This may have occurred by excessive rolling of the soil or working it while it was wet.

Keep us updated.

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horizonuser
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi GPI,
Thanks for the reply. I'm hoping to get a bit of time this weekend to take some snaps and try the drain test. I'll keep you posted.

thanks.
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horizonuser
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi GPI,
The water, never drained! Hours and hours later. I take it I should just concrete it!!!

Pictures of the holes before the water.




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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no easy answer to this problem to solve this problem horizonuser.
You have a compacted layer of subsoil there which is just not letting the water through quick enough.
Now you could install drainage as I mentioned above, but I fear it would only be effective in the thin strips above the piping.
The best solution would be to break up the compacted layer.

You can do this as follows......

Option 1. Break up the compaction.
Bring in a mini-digger and strip off the top soil, stockpile it to the side.
Then with the teeth of the minidigger break up that compacted layer as deep as you can go, allowing future water to pass through it.
Then re-spread your topsoil on top, or else lay good quality topsoil, or a mixture of both, right over the area and sow your grass seed again.

Option 2. Rip the area.
Find someone who has a ripper attachment for a digger, tractor or dozer, see example below......

. Tractor mounted soil ripper , photo / pic / image.

A well designed version of this unit is ripped through the soil, shattering the compacted layers, without bringing too much sub soil to the surface.
Criss-cross ripping must occur at a minimum depth of 3ft for this to be effective.
To criss-cross rip you should rip east to west at 4ft spacings, followed by ripping north to south again at 4ft spacings.
The topsoil will be churned up a fair bit, so you will have to sow your grass seed again.

Both these options mentioned should only be carried out under dry conditions.

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crosseyedsheep
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that judging by your photos it looks like you have no topsoil at all. The top layer looks like grey clay on top of the tan coloured subsoil, If you dig out a piece if the top layer is it really really stickey i.e. does it stick to the spade and is it hard to get off? Maybe it's just that it's really compacted but I suspect that it's much more clay than topsoil.
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horizonuser
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crosseyedsheep: Sorry for my ignorance here but if, like you say, I have no topsoil (which could be the case as the Landscaping company that preform this task where cowboys of the highest caliber) how do I proceed? If I just skimmed the top and put down a couple inches of topsoil wouldn't the water just drain through the topsoil and end up lying on the current bad soil thats there now?
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crosseyedsheep
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
crosseyedsheep: Sorry for my ignorance here but if, like you say, I have no topsoil (which could be the case as the Landscaping company that preform this task where cowboys of the highest caliber) how do I proceed? If I just skimmed the top and put down a couple inches of topsoil wouldn't the water just drain through the topsoil and end up lying on the current bad soil thats there now?


Sorry, I haven't been on in a while. As it's a large garden you would need to get a digger in and dig some drains, place drainage pipes and fill with drainage chips, if this hasn't been done allready? You would then need to get topsoil and spread out a layer on top. You probably do have topsoil on most of your garden, it's likely that there are some bare patches where the problems are occurring. More photos would help.

The first house I had had a similar problem, the developer stripped all the topsoil and sold it, There was a sandy subsoil though which didn't cause drainage problems.

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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

was in my sister's house yesterday; there was water pooled on the lawn down the back of the (small) garden. i suspect even just digging over the soil would help - the house is about 5 years old so i suspect it's compacted subsoil.
i've been through the 'digging enormous amounts of building waste out of a garden' routine before, so i'm curious as to what we would find.
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