General Discussion:

Improving drainage in new bed


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Carol13-May-02 08:57 AM EST 5a   
Lee13-May-02 09:35 AM EST 5a   
Carol13-May-02 06:15 PM EST 5a   
Susan13-May-02 09:22 PM EST 6a   
Lee14-May-02 07:39 AM EST 5a   
Carol14-May-02 02:52 PM EST 5a   
Lee14-May-02 03:40 PM EST 5a   


Subject: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-May-02 08:57 AM EST

I just added a new bed at the end of my deck, about 13' wide by 5' deep at its widest part. It faces south so gets full sun. I've planted a few David Austin English roses and am in the process of filling in with other plants. Although the bed is raised up with quite a bit of triple mix, since our recent rains I find it is extremely slow to drain. In fact, the edge of the bed is a trough of water after a heavy rain. I'm afraid anything I plant near the edge of the bed will drown! Any ideas for improving the drainage without totally dismantling the bed? I was wondering about removing the soil around the perimeter of the bed, digging down a bit and mixing some sand in with the clay, then refilling with triple mix. Would that work? Any other ideas? Thanks for your help.


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Lee
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-May-02 09:35 AM EST

I am also in 5a and have found our soil to have a lot of clay. I just put in two new beds and mixed in sand , peat moss with the triple mix. Seemed to help.


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-May-02 06:15 PM EST

Thanks for your suggestion, Lee. I spoke with someone at the local nursery today, and they thought I should not be concerned for the plants, but that my triple mix may be washing away! They suggested I might add in more peat moss, and plant groundcovers to retain the soil at the edge of the bed. Does that sound reasonable? I am concerned for the health of the roses that are planted, as well as other plants I am adding.


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 13-May-02 09:22 PM EST

Carol - how deep a layer of triple mix is over the clay? My soil here is God-awful clay - too much to ammend in an ideal way, so in many areas we just added 4-6 inches of triple mix, compost and top dressing mix on top. A purist would find that an apalling solution I know but it works fine for us! Even in my 'wet corner' where water filled holes in an instant two years ago, plants are thriving in their new soil on top of the clay. When I dig this spring, the soil is quite moist but nowhere near as bad as originally! Plant moisture loving/tolerant plants in the wetter areas - try Siberian irises, perennial lobelias, Japanese Primroses, foxglove ...

I have a black thumb when it comes to roses so my opinions on that issue are next to useless...! But I would think it would depend on how close they are to the wet spot, how good the air circulation is around the bed, and how naturally susceptible they are to things like Black Spot.


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Lee
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-May-02 07:39 AM EST

Susan's ideas about what to worry about for the roses are good. I have about 14 different roses. It is very important to have lots of mulch around the roses. My roses do just find with the amended soil. When I put in the roses I dug the hole twice the depth and width. I put in the mixture of sand, peat moss and triple mix and got rid of the original soil which was mostly clay. Hope this helps


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-May-02 02:52 PM EST

Thanks, Lee & Susan for your suggestions. Susan, like you, we have put triple mix on top of the clay. Actually, when I started gardening 5 years ago, we hired a nursery to put in the original beds and that's what they did - simply lifted the sod and put triple mix on top. I thought, "hey, I can do that", so have been continuing on ever since. After digging the sod out, we put down at least 18" of triple mix, more in the centre. Actually, I pile it up as high as I can get it. The roses are David Austin English shrub roses which are supposed to be reasonably hardy and disease resistant. I've had really good luck with other shrub roses we've planted, so keep adding on each year. There is good air circulation around the roses, and they are planted toward the back of the bed. The front of the bed is where all the water collection is. Lee, what type of mulch do you use around your roses? I've used cocoa mulch in the past, but our dog loves eating it! Last year, I just top dressed with compost.


Subject: RE: Improving drainage in new bed
From: Lee
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-May-02 03:40 PM EST

I use cedar mulch, the red that is more expensive keeps it red color. Both work great at keeping out weeds and helping the roses and other plants stay moist. Not a problem right now with all this rain. I love shrub roses and find them very hardy. Also the exployer roses are very hardy and look good. just putting in new gardens, did not know you good just put the triple mix on top. Been digging up the ground and trying to get the clay to mix with everything. Have to try the other way. Thanks


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