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water logged soil

 
Jamie McKenna
Posts: 7
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i have land on my farm thatiswet a lot and i want to use it as i have beef cows but i dont want to wreak the soils as the grass grows so well there all summer but come winter it wet four a long time and i would love  how i ca n fix it
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I can only tell you what I'm doing for my water logged areas, the more knowledged folks will have to update you on  their take since I don't have much land.

The areas that I have that have been water logged I have trenched around and backfilled with rocks, logs, brush, basically anything organic or rock.  When I first learned of this option it was explained as a soak away.  It works, I'm currently using it 45 to grade to slightly drain an area that I want to remain moist enough for the new trees but not bog. As long as you can find the grade you can reverse a water trapping swale/berm system by putting the swales off contour and graded below the area to be cultivated. 

It really depends on your goals but if you have the tractor and trees to back fill with you can partially drain your field while building soil in the drains as the trees decompose, remember though that off contour is the key to draining instead of filling, I think, correct me here if I'm off base
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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starting from the lowest spot on the water logged soil..start digging out a pond..use the refuse from the dig to build up the land around the pond, leaving enough areas low so as to allow drainage into the pond, make the center as deep as possible (use machinery if it is available)..the deeper the better..but make sure you have a gentle slope at least on one side so that any animal that falls in can walk out..

the pond will drain the land of water, provide a place for critters to drink, and be beautiful..you can also add fish if it remains filled for several years without going dry...if it does go dry in July (Mich) then I wouldn't put fish into it unless it has a water source added..like a well
 
Jay Ritchie
Posts: 9
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The short answer is to drain the low spot. You might go about this in different ways depending on the size of land in question and the surrounding topography. But either a surface drain or subsurface drain can take the water away. (The surface drain is more prone to erosion.) You could then route it to a body of water or water path, such as a lake, river, or drainage canal, or you could attempt to store the water somehow, such as in a reservoir, swail, or artificial wetland. In order to best evaluate the situation it would be best to obtain a topographical map of the land in question. This will help you or a contractor determine how deep the tile or surface drain would have to be to get from point A to point B.

Or you could find a more appropriate use of the land in its present condition.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 176
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Without having seen your land, this is only a wild guess, but from my own limited experience, if you were to plant a stand of weeping willows in that spot, the willows would suck up a lot of that water, grow rapidly as a result, and provide you with some pretty good (16% protein) cattle fodder for the summer and early autumn months -- and maybe some needed shade for your stock.

Now your spot might be too large or too wet for this to be practical, and you might not want to fence off the trees until they are too big for the cattle to damage, but my own cattle have benefited from having willow leaves to browse, and for cut and feed, in the summer months, and although my own land mostly drains like a sieve, I do have a couple of low spots that hold water longer, and I plan to plant willow in them. I hope this is helpful.
 
R. Peacock
Posts: 35
Location: eastern part of West Tennessee
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If this is a seasonal seep or sping, then a pond would be your best bet IMO. If it a low spot that collects and holds water you have several possible things you can do. A version of the 'french drain', dig one or more holes, like post holes, the deeper the better, fill with sand and river gravel, put a piece of landscape fabric over it to keep it from refilling with soil and place the sod back on top. If you can see how the water is flowing into the spot, take the sod up from an alternitive route,dig a shallow trench, then replace the sod. In both cases you can use the removed soil to fill in the low spot some.
 
Iain Bagnall
Posts: 16
Location: Hertfordshire & Devon, England
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Hi, we are looking to drain some of the excess water off our almost flat, heavy clay soil.

From everything that I have researched, it looks like off contour swales should help us do the job, but the only information I can find is about putting in swales on contour.

Brenda Goth mentioned in this thread about starting at the lowest point and putting in a pond, which sounds logical but will require more time, money and manpower than we currently have available.

We are planning to put in a pond in the future, in the lowest part of the land, but I was intending to put the swales in first, encouraging the water down towards that area.

So, does anyone have any detailed instructions/advice on how to put in off-contour swales, or any conflicting advice or suggestions as to why this might not work or is not a good idea?




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