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While our gardens can withstand a certain amount of water, prolonged spells of sitting water may cause some damage. It might be too late this time, but a few steps can help ease the strain on your garden.

Soils become waterlogged when

water builds up and is unable to

drain away. Prolonged periods of

sitting in ground saturated with

water leaves no air spaces in the

saturated soil causing yellow leaves, root rot and death, plant roots literally drown.

The good news is, short-lived flash floods after a downpour seldom harm most plants. It is prolonged, saturated soil that causes the most damage. With localised flooding becoming more common, conditions can be improved using various techniques to promote drainage and prevent damage. In the short term, after flooding, wash down hard surfaces and collect up debris to prevent drains blocking, soil surfaces being covered, and pollutants or contaminants lingering in the garden.

Keep off the soil until it is workable, to avoid compacting it and worsening the condition and remove damaged shoots from affected plants if you can get to them. If plants have noticeably suffered, apply a balanced fertiliser in the spring, mulching over the root area

after application to encourage new strong growth.

Water thoroughly in dry spells after a waterlogged period, as plants will be more susceptible to drought stress. This is not so much a concern now, but worth noting for the spring and summer.

To prevent the problem in the future you could build raised beds and fill with well-drained topsoil, install a drainage system

, or soakaway. Dig ditches filled with gravel to drain water away from the garden or talk to us about a pipe drainage system if the

problem is more extreme. Chose shrubs, trees and perennials that thrive in wet soil. Trees and shrubs that do well in moist conditions include Salix (Willow), Alnus (Alder), Sorbus (Ash), Hydrangeas, Hostas, Ferns, Gunnera, Iris siberica, Astilbes and Candlerbra primula.

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