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So much water.  RSS feed

 
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know, it's a blessing as much as it is a curse.

We're in East Texas. Forget about what you know about the rest of Texas. We're way more of the Louisiana swamps. Bald Cypress in the creeks n bottoms. All that stuff.

Anyway we got 5.5 acres after Harvey, it had 8 foot of standing water for a week. Had some soil hydrologist tell us that water isn't gonna penetrate the soil right for ~6 more months. But the land floods in parts every year due in part to poor logging practice about 20 years ago. Which also needs thinning now.

In the 5 acres of woods I'm trying to get a forestry mulcher to clear 3 acres of brush (thin tall trees that aren't doin much for the woods in any way) keeping almost all trees above 6" in diameter. And gettin a 30ft pole saw to open up the canopy to get light to the ground to help some grass come back n regulate soil moisture.

I'm planting probably a quarter acre in the back to Napier grass for deer bedding and hoping to dry out a bottom. I'm even considering planting rice to dry out ~2 acres and just mow it before seed sets.

I know a lot of us are trying to harvest as much water as possible but can yall give me any tips to dry some land out.
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Willow trees, cattails and other edge of the water type plants will suck up quite a lot of water and expel it to the air.
Your ideas are good ones too.

Check the height of those tall, thin trees, you may be able to sell those for Poles for Tipi (tepee) owners.
These usually need to be straight and 2-3 inches diameter with a 14-18 foot length to them.

Redhawk
 
Cody Haynes
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Oh it's really a mass of gnarly trees with little value to me. I understand the sentiment tho. But they just wind up as a mulch right where they are.

But we have gone through n flagged about 300 keepers, oaks, Cypress, honey locust.

Also on another forum they said to French drain to the creek. We already planned on damming it low as a reserve so I might go that way.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Those sound more like smoking wood :)

Be carful installing a drain to the creek you might add to or create a new problem.
I'm not saying don't install a drain, just plan it our carefully.

 
Cody Haynes
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yeah a lot of our land features are what logging left behind so I'm having to plan carefully. And think about if I wanna reverse it in the future.

But speakin of smoking wood we got access to the neighbors hickory thicket. An acre of hickory 3 inches in diameter and clearing n collecting them for smoking til a couple dozen specimen are left to thrive.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Sweet!  I love my hickory forest. 
 
Cody Haynes
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Lol I love hickory smoked bacon
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Indeed, we raise and butcher our own AGH pork. Have two full slabs in the freezer along with assorted other cuts right now.

If I can be of any more help with the water issue let me know and I am sure I can come up with some ideas, or I'll ask Mark Shepard for his thoughts.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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One idea, if you have access to equipment; it might make sense to dig some swales and mount the dirt to create berms.  Then you can plant on the berms which are now higher than the water table.

Also, it is better to plant trees that love water instead of the trees that love drought.

What ever method you use to "dry out" the land, just have a plan to deal with the drought years.  Even, rainy climates can get those drought years.

 
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Michelle Bisson wrote:One idea, if you have access to equipment; it might make sense to dig some swales and mount the dirt to create berms.  Then you can plant on the berms which are now higher than the water table.

Also, it is better to plant trees that love water instead of the trees that love drought.

What ever method you use to "dry out" the land, just have a plan to deal with the drought years.  Even, rainy climates can get those drought years.



I second this, and also suggest hugelkultur ! It has a good way of "soaking up" water and retains it inside the pile.  I would not even dig a trench, unless you need to do so to get topsoil for the top. 

I live in New Orelans and have used hugels to create texture with no digging at all.  It is absolute magic.  Good luck ^_^
 
pollinator
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I'm curious, would digging  a pond help,by collecting the water in one deeper place?
With open water, evaporation could be increased, fish could  be stocked, azolle grown for feed and manure, and there would be a reservoir for the dry times.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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William, ponds are part of a complete swale/berm water management, but you don't want just one deep pond, you want the deepest pond to be at the top of the hill not the bottom (let gravity work for you instead of against you).
There are two really good methods (depending on where you live, one of them will be a better fit than the other), the Key line method and the Main line method.
"Water for every farm" by P.A. Yeoman describes the key line method. 
"Restoration Agriculture" by Mark Shepard out lines the Main Line method (which works better in most of the USA and countries other than Australia).
 
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It's a whole lot of work to get set up, but the ancient people around Lake Titicaca in South America had created a floodplain based mounded garden/pond system.  I highly recommend checking out the link done by an experiencial based archeologist in the early 1980's who helped local people reestablish the tradition.  There are also some interesting tools including two person shovels, and foot plows, in this very interesting PDF     Raised Field Agriculture in the Lake Titicaca Basin  Something like this can be adapted to any water rich / flood prone terrain.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The above style of raised mound gardens mentioned in my previous post could be supplemented by deeper Canals, ponds, and Chinampas.  


One idea, if you have access to equipment; it might make sense to dig some swales and mount the dirt to create berms.  Then you can plant on the berms which are now higher than the water table.


I would not likely recommend swales, as they are water harvesting tools.  I would consider potentially running your swale type trenches and mounds perpendicular to tradition, or at least on a slightly draining angle, thus allowing excess water to leave the land, and still having the raised mounds. I would think the larger, higher, the mounds, the better in your situation, and if you did make the hugulkultur, do it all above ground, and in these large mounds.

Also on another forum they said to French drain to the creek. We already planned on damming it low as a reserve so I might go that way.



If you are draining your area to the creek, you might want to put a one way flapper valve on it, so the creek does not back up into your property when it is flooding.
 
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Hi William,
Something which may help you. Have a look at Keyline dams, and follow Bryant's advice about deepest at top. Then connect the dams up as you move down and on keyline.
Regards
Susan
 
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