Wet areas in a garden can be extremely problematic especially if you are doing permaculture, not a lot of plants will survive in these areas as most plants need to have their roots relatively dry. The biggest problem with wet areas is that you can simply not mulch the problem away, but you can make the drainage in the soil somewhat better. Usually, when you have wet areas in your garden it is mostly due to the soil, especially if you tend to have a lot of clay in the soil.
Wet areas can not be fixed by only mulching them, you have to till or dig up the soil in order to allow the water to seep into the ground. Once you have done that you should use a mulch that is fast draining and doesn’t hold water, the best mulches for wet areas are wood chips, decorative pebbles, and plastic mulch. In addition to this, you should plant plants in wet areas that have shallow roots, as these are more likely to survive in these areas.
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Before mulching an area that is wet you need to dig the soil up, usually a not draining soil tends to be compacted which doesn’t let water drain properly. By digging up or by tilling the soil you will allow the water to enter the soil a lot easier. Now this won’t fix the actual problem, the water will still be pooling but it will do it deeper in the ground where it can be better absorbed by the plants.
Once you have tilled the soil place a thick layer of mulch on it, ideally use a well-draining mulch like wood chips. In addition to this, it is also a good idea to plant plants that have relatively shallow roots in wet areas, this way their roots will not get waterlogged. It is a good idea to use mulch for flower beds, for more information check out my recent article Best Mulch For Flower Beds ( Top 9 Mulches ).
Wood Chip Mulch For Wet Areas
One of the best mulches for wet areas is wood chips, as they tend to drain relatively fast although they do retain some moisture. Just make sure that you have dug up or tilled the soil in the wet areas before you use the mulch. Place the wood chip mulch around the plants in a 2-6 inch layer, in such a way that the mulch doesn’t touch the plants. You can also plant the plants in the mulch directly, this way the plant will be above the wet areas, and with a thick enough mulch, the water should drain right through the mulch. If you have a bug problem in your mulch then check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Bugs In Mulch ( Fast & Easy ).
Decorative Pebbles Mulch For Wet Areas
Decorative pebbles are excellent for mulching wet areas mostly because they do not retain water and the water can go right through the layer of pebbles. The problem with pebbles is that they are not an organic mulch. Till or dig up the wet area, and fill it up with decorative pebbles, the deeper the layer of pebbles is the lower the water will pool. Some plants can be grown in the pebbles directly, on the other hand, you can always mix the top layer of the pebbles with some compost and use plants that have shallow roots.
Plants that have shallow roots can be planted in wet areas, as long as you fix the drainage problem by digging or tilling deep enough.
Plastic Mulch For Wet Areas
If the wet areas are mostly caused by a lot of rain then you can use plastic mulch to protect the soil. Plastic mulch doesn’t let water get through it, in addition to this the mulch will actually dry out the soil during hot summer days. Place the plastic mulch around your plants by simply making a hole in the fabric. Ideally, the plastic mulch should be placed at a slight angle, this way water will not pool on the plastic mulch.
If your soil is heavily eroded and this is the main reason why the area is constantly wet then you might want to place an organic mulch below the plastic mulch like grass clippings as these will feed your plants as they decompose.
Wet areas can be fairly hard to fix, although by digging up the soil and using the right type of mulch you can actually plant in these areas. My personal recommendation is to only plant plants in wet areas that have shallow roots, this way you will avoid root rot.