BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

Why has my boggy lawn recently become worse?


Richard Crombie, Birmingham

AMATT SAYS Something in the area may have changed to make flooding more likely. For example, the removal of big trees (especially evergreen conifers, which take up a lot of water) could mean there is more water in the soil. Another possibilit­y is that gardens nearby have been paved over, resulting in reduced soil area for rainwater to pass through. In such situations, this water will instead rush to the lowest point nearby, which may be this part of your garden. It could also be related to a water main, so contact your local supplier in case they are aware of a problem. Another cause could be a natural spring nearby.

There are companies that specialise in hydrogeolo­gy, so it’s worth trying one of them. Should it be a spring, they can come and go, so I wouldn’t suggest any major changes to your garden if they were to confirm it was such.

AANNE SAYS Installing land drains is disruptive and costly, so it is a good idea to look at potential causes first. Some are sceptical of water dowsing or divining but others argue this method has been used since ancient times and is worth a try to detect any undergroun­d streams and springs nearby.

A more convention­al approach when dealing with pipe leaks is to hire specialist­s with acoustic equipment to track the leaks down. If nothing is found within your boundaries, you could confidentl­y approach your water company and ask them to check their pipes. Of course, you might just have a high water table, and with changing weather patterns bringing heavy rainfall, land drains might prove a good investment after all.

Planting trees for wet soils or creating a water-absorbing rain garden of moisture-loving plants might work, but you’d lose your open area of lawn.

Q Can viburnum beetle be stopped with no chemicals? Nadine Hannam, East Yorkshire

APIPPA SAYS The viburnum beetle, Pyrrhalta viburni, can do a lot of damage, most of which is caused when the larvae feed in the spring, but there is often also damage later in the year when the adult beetles feed. However, the good news is that it is almost unheard of for an otherwise healthy viburnum to be killed or seriously weakened by this pest.

Keep a close watch on the plant and pick off and collect up larvae and adults as soon as you see them. This will reduce the damage and go some way towards breaking their lifecycle and so reduce future damage.

Also do everything you can to look after and encourage bird and insect predators of the viburnum beetle, including predatory ground beetles, as this too will have an impact.

 ?? ?? The flow of water undergroun­d can be complex in built-up areas
The flow of water undergroun­d can be complex in built-up areas
 ?? ?? ‘Rain’ gardens are designed for changing water levels
‘Rain’ gardens are designed for changing water levels
 ?? ?? Viburnum beetle larvae are active between April and June
Viburnum beetle larvae are active between April and June

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