How to improve soil drainage

At Gardenprue we are constantly talking about drainage . What if we have to prevent the soils from puddling, what if root rot can occur, etc. And it is that in this aspect you have to be critical, a poorly drained soil is not suitable for almost any plant, and sooner or later there will be problems. Today we are going to teach you how to improve it.


As here nobody is born knowing, we will tell you so that the one who sounds a bit like Chinese is what this is about. The drainage of a soil is its ability to absorb more or less quickly the water that is on the surface, the result of irrigation or rain, that is, it is the time it takes for the water to infiltrate from the surface from the ground to the deepest water tables that cannot be harvested by crops .

Therefore, both slow and fast drainage are bad . In the first case, the water will remain for a long time stagnant in the layer in which the roots develop, causing root suffocation and generating very problematic diseases due to excess humidity. On the other hand, when the drainage is very fast, the roots do not have time to take advantage of the nutrients or the irrigation water, permeating deep layers. In this case, there will be times when you think how it is possible for the tree to have symptoms of dryness when you water heavily.

Either of these two characteristics of the drainage, slow or very fast, must be improved. If your soil drainage problem is mild, there are some simple techniques to try to fix it.


It must be noted that the slope of the land is indicated, and does not sin excessively. In this aspect, we would cause the water to drag along the surface without being used as the slope takes it. The solution is simple , reduce the slope .


A land with organic matter will always have a better drainage capacity, since due to its properties it has a higher percentage of pores that prevents water from stagnating. Aerating the soil also benefits the passage of water when the soil has poor drainage due to being excessively compacted.


The use of drainage pipes is a widely used system in which it is necessary to improve a drainage that is in a critical situation. A widely used arrangement is the “market spine” system, where the secondary branches collect water from almost the entire plot to the main pipeline. The main pipes can end in an area where the drainage is better or in a kind of sump that is built manually. It consists of a trench of 1 meter or a meter and a half deep that is filled with porous materials such as sand, gravel or gravel. The water will percolate towards deep layers, without affecting the superficial layers where the roots of the plants arrive.

The tubes are usually corrugated like the one shown in the image, to add resistance, since depending on the depth at which they are placed they can withstand high weight loads. In terms of pipes there are different types . There are pipes that only collect the water and transport it in its entirety to another part of the orchard, since these pipes do not have perforations in the lower part. On the other hand, there are also pipes that have perforations in the lower part , with the aim of transporting part of the water to the sink area and in turn distributing the transported water throughout the orchard.

The plastic tube that you have to place will have perforations where the water will penetrate and circulate through it. The layer surrounding the pipe is filled with gravel with a diameter greater than the perforations in the pipe.


When we have a soil with excessive drainage, we will have to improve the soil structure . In other words, replace the surface layers with materials with greater water retention capacity. Clay is a good example of a material that retains and accumulates water, otherwise sand or gravel , where there are many spaces between particles through which water is leached.

The first thing is to know the type of soil we have in our garden. For this, a while ago we made an article where we explained how to know the type of soil we have in our garden.   It is possible that by turning, aerating or incorporating organic matter it is possible to improve the drainage characteristics and in certain cases it may be sufficient. If not, we will have to go back to the old drainage tube system .

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