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Build soil to eliminate standing water?

 
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Hey All,
I'm in mid central lower Michigan and we have lots and lots of sand.  We have 12 acres with sandy roadways and paths throughout.  We recently had a thaw and everything turned into a muddy mess with puddles all around.

I've been learning about building soil with mulch like woodchips and other organic matter.  I know this would help buffer the excess water but it might not be a good idea for a roadway/path.  I've been thinking about spreading charcoal in the worst affected areas.  

What can I do to prevent this wet muddy mess?

Thanks!
Rich
 
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Rich Points wrote:Hey All,
I'm in mid central lower Michigan and we have lots and lots of sand.  We have 12 acres with sandy roadways and paths throughout.  We recently had a thaw and everything turned into a muddy mess with puddles all around.

I've been learning about building soil with mulch like woodchips and other organic matter.  I know this would help buffer the excess water but it might not be a good idea for a roadway/path.  I've been thinking about spreading charcoal in the worst affected areas.  

What can I do to prevent this wet muddy mess?

Thanks!
Rich




Rock
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Paper


As in go back to the drawing board and make the pathways along the ridge line or if you must have the center of the path higher than the side like official roads in the city. with drains/ditches/berms to side water from one side of the road to the other to have it ultimately go down the slope.

But seriously what Travis said 'Rocks', unless someone has something for scissor
 
gardener
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Please may you elaborate more on how to use rocks?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Oh I got one.
Metal 'scissors' to dig trenches to drain the 'swamp'.
And to build up the center of the path with rocks and the addition dirt/sand to elevate the path above the 'flood plain'
 
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Do you think it will always be wet or is this just a once every 4 years problem?  As frost leaves the ground, or if you get melting snow on top of frozen ground, it will get sloppy.  

Sandy soil tends to drain pretty well.  Adding gravel in the paths could elevate you above the moisture if it's really a problem.  I'd be tempted to wait, watch and observe before doing any hard lifting.

I think spreading charcoal would just track black stuff into the house/truck and since it's light it could just wash away.
 
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I suggest your farm is a prime candidate to use Keyline Design principles to aid water infiltration and improve soil fertility.

There's many online sites, just Google: 'Keyline Design' or 'Keyline Farming'.
 
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Are the puddles extensive and always in bad spots? If they are staying around too long and not draining that same day, perhaps you could dig a little trench to help drain the excess to a better spot so it's either out of the way or can accumulate into a water feature? Is there a slope above the pooling spots that you could put a swale on to redirect the water away to better locations?
 
Travis Johnson
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The original poster is not referring to the need to farm on sand, but rather how to traverse roadways built on sand. The only way to do that in sandy conditions is to add rock. I suppose road fabric could be used, but it gets really expensive, really fast, and even then a foot of good gravel (rock) will needed to be placed on top of it.

Ditching is a great idea, but with sand you get liquification at times of frost or heavy weather events. There is no structure, no base to the roadway, so it just gives out. It does not really matter if a ditch is formed to drain excess water, if the road base is sand, it just turns to a quagmire.

If the roadway is fairly short, and no gravel pits are in your area, fabric and using rubble from concrete or brick might be an option, but that is probably more problematic then just getting loads of gravel in.
 
Travis Johnson
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S Bengi wrote:Oh I got one.
Metal 'scissors' to dig trenches to drain the 'swamp'.




Of course, clamshell buckets...they are scissor-like!

I would actually like a set so that I could bolt them to my log loader so I could move dirt without having to remove my grapple and put on my backhoe bucket instead.


 
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im biased but my advice is to build waru waru (raised bed sunken bed 1-2 foot deep water)or chinampas (more dramatic version of waru waru)
 
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I've driven on a road built from woodchips, and it was fine... long as you had a 4x4... but this was an arborists property, it was continually being built up with more chips beyond what most people could practically source.


What about planting something along the edges of the road in hopes of lending some stability to the sand?

And for that matter right on the road as well, but probably a different something. Even a moderately well trafficked road might allow something to survive in the center between the tire tracks..
 
F Agricola
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F Agricola wrote:I suggest your farm is a prime candidate to use Keyline Design principles to aid water infiltration and improve soil fertility.

There's many online sites, just Google: 'Keyline Design' or 'Keyline Farming'.



Okay, to add to the above, you could try corduroy or planking. Corduroy is a bit rough to drive over but in time it levels out with use - I've driven over lots of it in boggy areas, it lasts a long time too.

Planking is rarer to see these days, is expensive if you don't have access to a milling machine and free wood, and a lot more work to install and maintain.
 
Rich Points
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Wow thanks for all the feedback everyone!  Sounds like if I get a couple of loads of pea gravel and spread it in the affected areas it'd be good to go.

I'll try to do this in late spring or early summer.

thanks again!
Rich
 
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I advise strongly against pea gravel - it isn't stable.  The material to use is called "road base" and is rough irregular gravel.  I think the standard size is #2 road base.  I can't remember what the larger rock size is called, but at one time we got a load of larger rocks (about fist sized) to cover a mucky part of our driveway.  It worked well.  Pea gravel, which I mistakenly used for paths, slides around and also tracks badly into the house.  Ok for landscape use but not for paths.
 
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