Question: Drainage problems
I have a house in Sabina - prov. di rieti - with 4000 square meters of land that are the slope of a hill. the land, except for a small part about 500 square meters, are downhill. downstream I have a laurel bush hedge. the soil is rather clayey and, especially in the lower area, towards the hedge, in winter it is so soft that it cannot walk.
I'm going to add some river sand to improve drainage, but I would like to know if it would be useful to plant something that absorbs water and resists cold in winter?
Drainage: Answer: Drainage problems
we seem to be able to deduce from his letter that the problem of his garden (located in the area further downstream near the hedge) actually depends on excessive water stagnation. It is probable that rainwater does not penetrate the soil (clay) and therefore accumulate in the lower part where they find the hedge. Clearly, therefore, the solution to this drawback passes (as highlighted by yourself) through an action aimed at making the soil more permeable. It is not hidden, however, that this intervention, concerning in its case a rather extensive area, can be quite complex.
We suggest that you use other inert materials in addition to (or as an alternative to) sand which can lead to very effective draining results. In particular it could be used pumice stone, agriperlite or expanded clay (easily available on the market at garden centers or in building materials warehouses).
It may also be appropriate to add peat and earthworm humus to the soil to enrich the soil.
As for the dosages, an optimal final solution could be this: two parts of earth, two parts of peat, one part of humus and two parts of draining material.
It can also provide, in addition, to create drains that allow the water not to stagnate near the hedge but to continue downstream. This solution allows in many cases to strongly reduce problems like yours.
Finally coming to the last part of his letter, in which he asks us if it is useful to plant plants capable of absorbing water, it does not seem to us that this road can be practiced successfully. And this is because in winter the plants are at rest (and therefore require much less water) and because in such conditions the plants encounter many problems at the root level (asphyxia, rot, cryptogamic diseases, etc ...).