By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Waterlogging is exactly what it sounds like. Waterlogged apricot roots causes the death of the roots and decline of the tree. Once this happens, it is difficult to fix, but the issue is very easy to prevent.
Recognizing Apricot Waterlogging Problems
It can often be difficult to figure out what ails your fruit tree. Fungal issues, cultural, environmental, pests, other diseases, the list goes on. Stone fruits are often susceptible to waterlogging. Can apricots become waterlogged? They are not as likely to suffer from the condition as peaches and nectarines but may be affected.
It is important to recognize the first symptoms if any attempt to aid the tree in time can be effective. Waterlogged apricot trees will first show signs in the foliage. Leaves turn yellow or bronze-purple. In time, the tree will drop the leaves. If you were to dig up the roots, they would be black, oozing and smell rather terrible. This is because they are essentially rotting in pooled water.
Waterlogged apricot roots can no longer bring up water and nutrients and the loss of leaves affects the plants ability to gather solar energy to turn into plant sugars. Both issues cause the decline of the tree, which may take some time but eventually it will die.
What Causes Apricot Waterlogging?
When roots are too close to the water table, soil does not drain well and poor irrigation practices are in place, waterlogging can occur. It is important to check the drainage of a site prior to planting a tree of any kind.
When soil is waterlogged, all air pockets are displaced, depriving the plant of oxygen. Plant roots are now operating in an anaerobic condition which reduces nutrient uptake but also causes excess toxins to accumulate and organic matter to deplete from soil. Potentially damaging hormone production is also increased.
Fixing Apricot Waterlogging Problems
If possible, it is best to approach waterlogging prior to planting. Checking soil porosity and incorporating compost and gritty material can help drainage. Terraces or planting on a hilled area or raised bed are also effective. Avoid planting in clay soil which holds water and does not percolate.
If damage is already occurring, dig soil away from roots and replace with grittier material. Dig French drains or trenches to direct water away from the tree. Be careful about excess watering.
Good cultural care can ensure a strong tree that can recover from brief periods of waterlogging., as can purchasing an apricot tree grafted onto plum rootstock, where some tolerance has been exhibited.
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I purchased my bellway home back in 2008. Ive since had the garden redone by the builder after i got the NHBC involved. Basically everytime i dug a hole to plant something id encounter rubbish or a huge piece of concrete. So the garden was dug up and replaced and re turfed. This was all finished January 2011. they didnt do a very good job, the turf was uneven and they hadnt rolled it (basically just laid striaght on top of uneven surface).
Over the summer the garden seamed fine, growing nicely, good grass green a lushious. However, over the past few winter months the garden has become so waterlogged you cant walk on it without sinking into the ground, the middle of the garden has developed its own pond when it rains. All my grass is nearly dead or gone completely.
Theres a french drain at the back of the garden but i dont think this is enough as everything is clay and the water just sits there.
The builder are being useless and want to wait untill its dry to assess again (bit silly if the problem is when it rains). I dont want to wait until spring and then not be able to use my garden all summer.
What should i do? should i get a landscaper in to have a look?
I have answered a similar problem elsewhere on this forum.
basically, the NHBC standards say that the garden should not flood and there should not be any debris in or immediately under to topsoil.
It looks like Bellway's landscape contractor is incapble of laying turf so i would suggest that once the waterlogging is sorted out Bellway give you a sum of money and you organise the new turf yourself.
Regarding the waterlogging, it sounds as if the french drain is not connected to a storm water drain or run off drainage ditch. It therefore fills up when it rains a lot.
Depending on when you first complained about this, Bellway and/or the NHBC should certainly be sorting this out.
I am pleased the NHBC have been proactive in helping you.
From your photo this problem really does need sorting out.
Imagine how bad it will be when we don't have a water shortage as the water boards are saying at the moment!
Please don't give up with the NHBC.
They have probably got their wires crossed.
Write back and demand a copy of their resolutions and findings report.
You will need this anyway if you take the matter to court.
Say in your letter that you have the impression the issue is being lost and that a previous unrelated issue appears to have led to misunderstanding on their part and demand it is looked into again.
I can understand how frustrating this must be for you.
Especially when the solution is a relatively inexpensive and easy to do additional bit of drainage pipe.
Why house builders don't just fix the problem in the first place instead of making more problems fighting against rectifying obvious defects is a mystery to me.
If they are not part of the SOLUTION they are part of the PROBLEM!
The NHBC are not in cahoots with house builders!
They provide warranty for new home buyers and set standards for house building.
Like any organisation, they will have people who are, like the tradesmen, happy to do shoddy job and take their pay.
Ask the NHBC to send another inspector to look at your problem and complain about Mr Franklin's lack of response to your calls.
This inspector may have meant he knows nothing of soils and drainage on this particular site.
He should appreciate that waterlogging is caused by water that cannot drain away. Land drainage would solve this.
The NHBC standards actually state that gardens should not become waterlogged. If waterlogging was present within a 3 metre boundary from the house then the builder is obliged to put this right.
For anywhere else, I suppose wellies are the order of the day!
You may like to know that the latest standards say something like this:-
"There must be a 3m area around the home where waterlogging should
not occur. It is important that homeowners are able to access the refuse bin position, patio areas or the rotary clothesline facility, without getting wet feet."
"Ground immediately around the home can be compacted by construction traffic during building. This compaction will reduce the ability of the subsoil to absorb surface water."
You probably can get something but you would be wise to wait until you have a resolution and the full extent of your stress is known!
Replacing sub soil with topsoil will not stop waterlogging.
In fact it may make it worse.
What you need is a proper french drain connected to the storm drainge mains. This will need a silt pit before the mains connection.
You may also benefit from having any future remedial work independently inspected too.
You wont have a waterlogged garden in a drought!
I bet they come and inspect it again in the middle of a summer heat wave!
Have you sent the NHBC copies of your photos?
Three years is a long time.
But I would recommend to everyone that new home owners should NEVER give up and settle for second best and live with faults and/or bad workmanship.
It is a common held belief that if a matter has not been resolved or legal action taken within a 2 year period, in 99% of cases it never will and the perosn has given up.
Remember my catch phrase "it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil"
The compacted hardcore may just be the remnants from the site stockpiles.
This should drain better than compacted clay anyway.
At least the NHBC are taking an interest now.
I hope all you new lawn does not have to be dug up later down the line though!
Oh dear! You actually bought a new house knowing it was built on tip?
Whatever cappings, vents and mitigation contamination works that may or may not have been carried out, surely a better choice would have been NOT to buy a new home built on a tip/landfill site.
So many more problems can manifest themselves with buildings on landfill and rubbish tips that even a 10 year NHBC warranty may not be long enough to give protection.
You may even have trouble selling, expecially to a local person.
Not sure that will help
So I thought id give an update to my gardening issues in the hope this may also help others with similar issues.
Do date the NHBC and Bellway have done the following:
- Excavated the ruble left in my garden and re turfed
- Excavated 300mm of soil and returfed
- Pocked a steel pole through to underlying hard material and fill with stone.
The last action was back in the summer of 2014. It appeared to work temporarily but again now this year im left with a boggy garden where the plants and grass has pretty much died off due to the waterlogging over the rainy winter.
Ive contacted the NHBC again who have been quite helpful in addressing this at last. They've been very proactive and understand the previous works were more temporary fixes and that something more permanent was needed. Indeed several years on id agree.
So bellway have been contacted and are due to visit again in the next week or two. Ive decided that the only thing that would work is to install a herringbone drainage system, excavate and relay turf, or they remove the hard layer that is 300mm below which is preventing the drainage of the garden.
Im also determined for them to pay an appropriately qualified landscaper for this work and not some shoddy cheap contractor they use to replace my plants and do the job properly. Am I within my rights to expect this?
Can Apricots Become Waterlogged – Learn About Apricot Waterlogging Problems - garden
The erratic weather conditions we continue to face in the UK means waterlogged allotments have become a common sight.
Waterlogging isn’t just a frustrating experience when there are jobs to get done, it’s a potential death sentence for your crops and the soil in which they grow.
In the winter of 2015, I’d turned a corner in the development of our allotment garden. After six months of ineffective, disorganised cultivation of the overgrown patch, I’d set out a plan of action and progress was only a spade turn away.
The rain continued for weeks. Every morning I looked out of the window and wondered if it would ever stop. There were many jobs to do on the allotment in preparation for the busy spring.
When the rain finally stopped, I raced to the plot and was horrified. The allotment was flooded. This wasn’t a garden, it was a pond.
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What is waterlogging?
Waterlogging occurs when the soil becomes saturated. On our plot, the pooled water was an obvious sign but water doesn’t have to appear on the surface of the soil for there to be a potential problem with waterlogging.
When allotments are waterlogged, air pockets in the soil fill with water and the roots of the plants are unable to get oxygen. Carbon dioxide and ethylene also build-up as the plants are unable to respire in the saturated soil.
Most of the time waterlogging doesn’t last long enough for plants to die. However, if allotments remain waterlogged for a significant period of time, the lack of oxygen in the root area will cause the root tissue to decompose.
How to solve the problem of waterlogging
Waterlogging can be prevented by achieving two objectives: Aerating the soil and enabling drainage of excess water.
The soil on our allotment is heavy clay. It can be very fertile for many crops, however, it needs to be managed well for this to become as the farmers say – Strong land.
Clay soil can become a sticky mass. It can become almost impossible to cultivate, and when it dries out it becomes as hard as cement. In wet conditions, the clay soil on your allotment can exacerbate the problem of waterlogging.
Clay soil needs to be improved for it to flocculate – this means the microscopic particles which make up the clay gather together in larger particles. To improve clay you have to get as much organic matter, such as manure and compost, into the soil. The result will be a soil that is more easily worked, drains better, allows air to get down into it and allows the roots of plants to penetrate it more easily.
Land drains are an ancient but effective method for managing waterlogged ground. Creating drains can be hard work but you only need to do it once.
If your allotment slopes, you can drain the plot by digging a ditch at the top of the plot to cut-off the water running on to it and digging another ditch at the bottom of the plot to drain away excess water from the plot itself.
On most allotments, a ditch at the bottom of the slope should be enough. Traditionally, the ditch is filled with a few inches of gravel and a perforated plastic pipe is then laid along the ditch to guide the water away from the plot. More gravel is added to the ditch and then it’s backfilled with topsoil.
Our allotment doesn’t slope and so I’ve improved drainage using ditches to effectively lower the water table around the beds. This was achieved by digging out a network of paths and backfilling the paths with wood chips. The soil from the paths was then used to raise the level of the beds. It’s been hard work but it works.
What causes garden drainage problems?
Common causes of waterlogging
- Heavy sustained rainfall can cause underground springs to change direction.
- Compacted soil combined with the mixing of subsoil and topsoil when the house was built is a very common reason for soggy spongy lawns.
- Clay soil. You can't blame it all on the builder, it's more likely the house and garden have been built on clay (easily recognised because the surface cracks up when it is dry). Not easily avoidable however, as great swathes of the UK consist of clay soil.
- The garden is lower than neighbouring gardens or at the bottom of a hill. Water flows downwards and unless it has been dealt with upstream by installing a drainage system to catch or divert the water, is naturally going to be a problem downstream. It's not really your neighbour's fault that this is happening.
- Structures like swimming pools, home extensions you or neighbours have added can all cause gardens to flood. Anything with deep footings can divert water.
- Uneven lawn or garden surfaces. On clay and other water retentive soils, the flow of water through the soil is very slow made worse by dips in the surface allowing water to puddle and flood during heavy rain.
- Hard landscaping. The increasing use of impermeable materials to construct car parking, driveway and patios is a problem. Rainwater that should be soaking into the ground runs across the hard impermeable surface into the property and gardens below it. If you are unlucky enough to live next to (and lower than) a tarmac or concrete parking area, you could try asking the culprit to install a French drain on theirside to catch and divert the water away from your property.
- Is it the Water Table? Some water table information here.
- Gutters and down-pipes not connected into the drainage system (or blocked) instead discharging onto the garden or patio. Always connect the down-pipe into a drain.
- Diverting water into your property. If your neighbour has recently installed a garden drainage system check that it is not terminating at the boundary between your properties and discharging water into your garden.
Solution? for most waterlogged garden problems the only solution is to drain the water away.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best time to install garden drainage is when the soil is fairly dry, ideally between late August and mid-October. If you know your waterlogging issue is a result of compacted soil and you’re considering spiking/slitting the soil to aid with drainage, carry this out in autumn and repeat the process every 2-3 years.
Ideally, you’ll want to direct excess water away from your garden into a ditch, stream or dry well/soakaway. If you intend on connecting your drainage system to the storm drain or sewer system, it’s best to check with your local council first as some areas have restrictions in place when it comes to redirecting excess water.