How to Fix Poor Soil Drainage: Effective Solutions for Your Yard

Date July 21, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

Do you have a yard that is always wet and soggy, no matter what time of year it is? If so, you probably have poor soil drainage. This can be a huge problem, as it can cause your plants to wilt, lead to the formation of mold and mildew, and even kill both your grass and trees. In this blog post, TreeNewal pros will discuss some effective solutions for fixing poor soil drainage in your yard, plus maintenance tips so that you don’t have to worry about this issue anymore!

What Is Soil Drainage?

Soil drainage is the process by which water moves through the soil. The rate of water flow is determined by the type of soil present, as well as the amount of rainfall or irrigation. Good drainage is essential for plant growth, as it allows roots to access oxygen and prevents waterlogging. Poor drainage, on the other hand, can lead to a number of problems, including plant death, fungal diseases, and compacted soils.

There are two main types of soil drainage: surface drainage and subsurface drainage. Surface drainage is the movement of water across the surface of the soil, while subsurface drainage is the movement of water through the soil profile. Both are important for preventing waterlogging and ensuring that plants have access to the oxygen and nutrients they need.

What Causes Poor Soil Drainage?

There are several factors that can contribute to poor soil drainage, including:

Heavy clay soils: Clay soils have very small particles that compact easily, making it difficult for water to flow through them.

Did you know: Clay soil is very common around North Texas!

Lack of organic matter: Soils that are low in organic matter have a lower capacity to absorb water, resulting in poor drainage.

Compacted soils: Compacted soils have had their pores squeezed out, making it difficult for water to move through them. This can be caused by heavy equipment, foot traffic, or even just natural settling over time.

Impermeable bedrock: Bedrock that is close to the surface can prevent water from draining properly, leading to poor drainage.

What Are the Effects of Poor Soil Drainage?

Poor soil drainage can have a number of negative effects on your yard, including:

Waterlogged soils: Waterlogged soils are devoid of oxygen, essentially drowning your plant and tree roots, which can lead to their deaths.

Fungal diseases: Soils that are constantly wet are the perfect environment for fungal diseases to thrive.

Mold and mildew: Mold and mildew can form on both plants and surfaces in damp, poorly drained conditions.

Compacted soils: Compacted soils are difficult to grow plants in and can be very difficult to change.

Specifically for trees, poor drainage can cause:

Root rot: Root rot is a fungal disease that thrives in wet, poorly drained soils. It can kill trees by preventing them from taking up water and nutrients.

Yellowing leaves: Yellowing leaves are often a sign of nutrient deficiencies, which can be caused by waterlogged soils.

All of these problems can be avoided with proper drainage. By taking the time to fix poor drainage now, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache down the road.

Drainage Solutions for Your Yard

There are a number of ways that you can improve the drainage in your yard, including:

Adding Organic Matter

Adding organic matter to your soil will help it to absorb water more effectively. This can be done by adding compost, manure, or even just leaves and grass clippings.


Aerating your soil will help to break up compacted soils and improve drainage. This can be done with a garden fork or an aeration machine.

Improving Surface Drainage

Surface drainage can be improved by adding mulch, rocks, or gravel to problem areas.

Installing a French Drain

A French drain is a type of drainage system that can be used to collect and redirect water. It is a good solution for yards with poor drainage.

How to Maintain Well-Drained Soil

Once you have implemented drainage solutions for your yard, it is important to take steps to maintain it. Some things you can do to maintain your well-drained soil include:

Regular Aeration

Aerating your soil on a regular basis will help to prevent compaction and ensure good drainage.


Mulching your garden beds will help to improve surface drainage and prevent waterlogging.

Avoiding Foot Traffic

Walking on your lawn can compact the soil and lead to poor drainage.

Keeping Gutters Clean

Clogged gutters can redirect water into your yard, leading to problems with drainage.

By following these tips, you can improve the drainage in your yard and prevent problems such as waterlogging, fungal diseases, and compacted soils. Drainage is an important part of any landscaping project, so don’t forget to take it into account when planning your garden!

If you need advice or assistance with drainage in your yard, get in touch with the ISA Certified Arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.


To learn more about How to Fix Poor Soil Drainage: Effective Solutions for Your Yard, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at (817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

We’re a little different than the average tree services company.

Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!

Our Dallas/Fort Worth-based tree doctors can explain how sustainable tree care services add more value to your bottom line.

Healthy trees, healthy lives.