Soil structure refers to the way in which the sand, silt and clay particles are arranged relative to each other.
Here is a simple drainage test:
- dig a hole 30 to 60 cm deep, fill it with water and allow it drain;
- refill it with water, then time how long it takes to drain completely;
- if the hole takes 3 to 4 hours to drain, you have good drainage. If it takes 5 to 12 hours to drain, you have moderate drainage. If there is any water left in the hole after 12 hours, you have poor drainage.
Solutions to drainage problems
- Choose plants suited to your growing conditions. Examples:
- Trees and shrubs: European black alder (Alnus glutinosa), swamp oak (Quercus palustris), redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba), false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), weeping willow (Salix alba 'Tristis'), creeping willow (Salix repens), etc.
- Perennials: bergenia (Bergenia sp.), goatsbeard (Aruncus sp.), turtlehead (Chelone sp.), darmera (Darmera peltata), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica), ligularia (Ligularia sp.), butterbur (Petasites sp.), rodgersia (Rodgersia sp.), globeflower (Trollius sp.), etc.
- Improve the soil structure.
- Build raised beds.