Water logged gardens are a challenge! We wish we could predict the weather, but of course it’s out of our control.
This has been a crazy spring for rain. Our heavy clay soil is notorious for “water-logging”. The strange thing is, this same soil is some of the richest in minerals, essential growing elements for healthy plants. Water logged soils are difficult to work with, and heavy clumps and clods of soil are created when attempting to cultivate and plant. The actual structure of the soil can be compromised. Soil aeration is the key. We are using more and more clay soil conditioner amendments resembling provide airspace in the soil. These products will help dry out our saturated soils. For garden areas that are notoriously wet for prolonged periods, we typically install underground drain tile to allow for excess water to be removed.
The rigors of the terrible subzero temperatures of this past winter have also stressed out our plants. The plants energy sources were incredibly taxed and many plants, particularly evergreens, desiccated significantly. Enter excessive spring rains, creating a lack of airspace in the soil, the plants are screaming for life. Marginally hardy plants such as rhododendrons and Japanese maples are the most significantly affected. Southern or Western grown boxwoods are also showing damage or death this month. Local nurseries have stopped selling their field grown boxwood stock. Lack of oxygen to plants is slow to appear and damage on plants is only now revealing itself.
Challenging times in the garden this spring indeed. I will keep posting progress through this spring to help share what we are learning and doing to succeed. We are relying on summer containers to bring color to us that lasts throughout the season as growing conditions improve for our gardens hopefully with better weather moving forward with warmer, dryer this month. Mother Nature is a powerful presence, we must have patience with her.