Water — everywhere

Published 9:08 pm Saturday, March 6, 2010

If the last 12 months were a calendar year, Suffolk would have broken a 1970s record for precipitation.

But while every garden needs its water, too much can kill it.

“Many plants will drown in too much water,” said Jeff Ray Williamson of Smithfield Gardens. “Too much water around the roots can lead to root rot and in turn lead to poor growth.”

Email newsletter signup

To avoid drowning your plants or lawn, areas with bad drainage should be built up. Flowerbeds should be built up a few inches and lawns should be evened out.

“People need to raise up beds — not just with timber but raise the ground up a couple inches,” Williamson said. “For areas that will be continually wet, people should place bulbs one quarter of an inch higher.”

For low areas of grass that have standing water, if you let the water stand, “it’ll kill that area out,” he said. “You need to reseed that area once the rains stop, and if it’s a lower area, you may need to build it up some.”

Other spring cleaning in the garden should include pruning summer-blooming shrubs and evergreens.

“A lot of cleanup should be done now,” he said. “If there is a lot of excess leaf debris, it’s a good idea to clean it up now and get airflow around the base, but whatever you do, do not prune any spring-blooming shrubs. It’ll take the foliage away.”

But before you grab your clippers and head to your flowerbeds, Williamson warns to tread lightly.

“People need to be careful in their gardens after all this wet weather,” he said. “Standing on soil will compact it and push the air out it. It won’t let air and nutrients get to the roots.”

To avoid damage caused to plants by walking on wet ground, Williamson recommends standing on boards or using a stepping-stone.