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Watch Your Water Table

First of all, what the heck is a water table? No, it’s not a table made outta water. I mean, we have water beds, but it just doesn’t make any sense to have a water table like that.

Well, a water table is basically the top surface of the groundwater in any given area of land. It’s usually invisible due to it being under the ground, but during events such as flooding, the water table rises above ground. If your house is up on a hill or high land-filled area, and the surrounding land is lower, you most likely won’t have too big of a problem with your water table getting out of hand.

But even for those who live in lower areas, it’s not the end of the world. There are some things you can do to stave off damages incurred due to your water table coming up for air. I personally experience a high water table on part of my land due to it being about 80 centimeters lower than the surrounding lots. But I quickly realized the detrimental effects of this and was desperate to find a solution.

There were a couple fruit trees randomly placed but for some reason, their leaves looked like they were partially withered even though they were still green and it was mid-summer! A little voice inside of me told me that the irrigation-gutter along the entire border of the land had something to do with it. Someone had dug a gutter around the piece of land, but it was all overgrown and wasn’t flowing well.

Basically, the whole piece of land was like a clay marsh and it was no wonder that the pitiful fruit trees were all withered up and producing ZERO fruit! So after looking at the pathetic gutter, I figured that I had to clear out all the overgrown weeds and debris, and dig down deeper as well, so that the excess water would flow out, thereby keeping the water table down. I’m proud to say that this worked!

After digging the gutter deeper and wider, and clearing all obstructions, the water immediately began flowing out. The results were almost instantaneous, as the water level dropped 30~40 centimeters. Within days the trees started looking noticeably healthier and YES, even producing fruit that very year. I had to clip some of the branches on one as it just started sprouting uncontrollably only weeks after digging out the gutter.

So in conclusion, watch your water table! If you have a piece of land that fulfills the criteria for a high water table, and you don’t relish the idea of having a more or less permanently flooded slice of real estate, do what’s necessary to keep it well-drained! Dig a sloped gutter leading out to your storm drainage, or install percolation pipes that drain out to the same. Don’t let your treasured plot of land turn into a muddy marshland!

If you found my article helpful please visit my websites at Free & Handy and Your Japanese Garden for more, thanks!

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