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tell me everything about high water table

 
Will Holland
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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An area of my yard (lawnish- many thousand square feet) has a water table that is frequently AT the surface. The previous owned maintained it as lawn but this is problematic for me for many reasons, especially to mow it.

I've never experienced a water table like this before. When the ground started to thaw this spring, I dug a small hole about 12" deep to monitor the water table for my own curiosity.

So, I'm looking for plants that will be happy here, ideas for other uses, and especially tree species that would like to be there.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Will Howard : The Grass is always greener over the septic tank ! Have you noticed that your toilets flush differently this spring, or have slow running
drains, or maybe your washing machine does not spin out your clothes as dry ?

Seriously if one area of your Lawn seems to have a higher water table than the rest of the yard I would do a little more exploring !

You can test that water for high levels of the high levels of phosphates from Laundry/dishwashing soaps, and or have it tested for Coliform Bacteria

If you are on metered town water I would ask your neighbors about their water bill to get a comparison to theirs, you may be paying hundreds more!

Assuming 'municipal water' - You are looking for any flow of water however slight and then that water can be tested for the presence of Chlorine !

- A Note about ''the department of making you sad'' - You may find your water shut off by the utility/water district and be told it is your responsibility

to dig it up and have it fixed by a Certified Plumber and then wait on an inspection to 'Pass' the Work and only then will the water get turned on -

leaving you with a hole to deal with !

Hopefully none of this has anything to due with you - You just posted this question during the magical ''spring window " _Good Luck ! Big AL
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Hopefully Allen is wrong on this one but you need to make sure because they are serious problems and need to be corrected.

If you have compacted clay (normal for suburban yards) it can behave that way in the spring or after heavy rains. Non permie solution is to aerate and add gypsum and sand and fertilizer. Aeration is good, gypsum and sand are ok, but the fertilizer kills the biology and makes the problem worse. So you need to hire them again next year. There is more money in treating symptoms, just like medicine.

My solution would be to aerate (broadfork is best, plug aerator is practical for big areas), then top dress with good live compost that will add biology and level the surface so it won't puddle.

 
Will Holland
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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Currently, I'm not looking to change (notice: not "fix") it, just work with the area.

We're considered a rural district, and the causes of the high water table in this particular area of the property are many. It's at the bottom of a short but steep berm for a state highway and the soggy part starts at the end of the easement of course. We receive a LOT OF runoff from the surrounding roadways from multiple directions. The soil is a grey, wiggley clay. I dug another test pit about 24" deep to confirm this. It's also been flagged as wetlands.

We're not on city water, and this is not really near our septic tank or drainfield, so I'm pretty safe there I think. Even when my viewing pit doesn't have standing water, just stepping on the ground squeezes out water. I'll post some pics when I'm not at work.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Sounds like you have the makings of a pond?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Will Holland wrote:It's also been flagged as wetlands.


Ugh. That has lots of department of make you sad implications...
 
Will Holland
Posts: 300
Location: CT zone 5b
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It's a historic ag town, and for better or for worse, almost all "agricultural uses" are permissible. Good for me as a permie who desires to not fuck with things that shouldn't be fucked with. I would love to have a pond. A large portion of my land is wetlands, but not in one contiguous piece.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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You could let the landscape teach you what it can do by simply digging a hole and watching how the water behaves in it. If it is as you describe water will seep into the hole and nearly fill it....at least during rainy weather. The acid test is to see what it will do during a summer drought. If some water is retained there year-round it would be easy to have a pond.....just dig out more till it is as large as you like.
For plantings, focus on things native to wetland or riverbank areas.....willow, poplar, sycamore, and such like come first to mind. Don't try to grow fruit trees down there, except possibly mulberry.
 
sebastiaan roels
Posts: 15
Location: denmark
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hey there

I have another question about high water tables, I live near the sea at an altitude of 1,5 meters and in winter the groundwater gets pretty high around here as well. I d say between a half meter and a meter, so now I was wondering when people talk about some plants that mine for minerals and have deep taproots, do roots actually go deeper then the groundwater ??
and if the groundwater over the summer drops by a couple of meters how do the roots react to that kind of fluctuation ??
thanks in advance for any input !!
 
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