Rain garden will dry up woes

GARDEN Q&A

May 05, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun

Our yard is red clay over white clay. Rain just sits there. If I till in organic matter and lay sod, would that solve the problem?

Chances are you'll have difficulty maintaining a lawn until you solve the drainage problem. A grade of 1/2 inch per 50 feet would carry rain off your lot, but a better solution is to divert rain to a rain garden. Rain-garden plants thrive on periodic flooding, while rain slowly percolates into the soil.

The Prince George's County Department of Environmental Resources has a good brochure called "Rain Gardens: The Natural Solution." It can obtained by calling 301-883-5834. A helpful Web site is: dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/nps/rg/index.htm.

Checklist

To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard, eliminate all standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in very small amounts of water. B.t. (Bacillus thuringiensis spp. Israelensis) is a naturally occurring soil bacterium registered for control of mosquito larvae and can be safely used in ornamental ponds.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. The center offers free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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