Can you tell us more about this land? What is the terrain, soil, climate, rainfall, like?
I've seen a valley bottom in my area that previously had drain tile installed, in order to use it for sheep pasture. A decade or three later, and one beaver dam nearby... the rich marshy soil had overwhelmed the drainage and it was getting quite soggy again. A food forest is being installed over top, using swales in some portions.
Perhaps you don't want to wait 20-30 years and one beaver dam.... in that case I hope someone else has more relevant experience and will provide some advice!
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posted 5 years ago
It is 1 acre valley in Iowa. Before the tile was put in the water in the spring would run out of the side hills until mid summer. When the 3 tiles were installed the water now runs out the end of the pipes into a catch hole at the bottom of the hill. I have dug into the side hill and I think the soil looks good. I would like to put swales in this year if I can.
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
posted 5 years ago
Be careful taking out those drain tiles. If without them you land is going to be waterlogged until half the growing season is gone, you might regret taking them out. It sounds as if you are in the enviable position of too much water from the uphill groundwater charge. Do you need swales to catch rainfall in the second half of summer? Could you store the water in the catch basin and pump it back up in the drier months? How deep are the drain tiles below ground? Could you put in the swales above the level of the tiles or even let the tiles bisect your swales?
Admittedly, I am ignorant of your climate and conditions. I have never been to Iowa. I ask the questions for better understanding. But at first look it appears you are proposing to do a lot of work to make the conditions less favorable, when you could leave them and work around them, unless you need all that water early in the growing season.
Tell us more about your set up and how your swales will run.
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