Water-logged gardens

Asked September 24, 2018, 3:10 PM EDT

Does your site contain a page of focused information or reference links on reclaiming growing spaces after an excessively wet summer? While being careful not to work a very wet garden, invasive vines, grasses, and perennial "weeds" have nearly take over my organically cultivated garden beds and landscape plantings. Some perennials clearly show root damage and I am working to save a wonderful old apple tree. THANKS!

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

Unusual times call for unusual steps. To work in a wet garden, you can put down boards to distribute your weight and walk on these to get into the garden a bit sooner. First, go after the plants that are going to seed. Pull them or cut off the top portion with seeds. Bag and dispose of them. Once the seeds of annuals are gone, any annual vegetation left can be allowed to die in frosts and serve as organic mulch. Eventually, there should be opportunities to pull perennials before the ground freezes, or you can smother them with organic mulch (it will soon be leaf mulch season.) Putting 3-4 layers of newspapers under the mulch will be more effective at killing the perennial weeds.

If you have standing water, you may need trenches to carry it off, regrade, and/or create barriers (swales) to run off to keep it out of the garden. For chronic wet soils, here are some thoughts: http://rocklandcce.org/resources/improving-drainage-in-soil-rockland