Tips to clear surface water on wet but sloped meadow

top gnome

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I have a large area of meadow that I want to put a path thru. The meadow was dry when we put the original trail in but quickly deteriorated when the farmall left ruts last year. Now it is virtually impassable. The funny thing it is on a slope.
I would like to use the backhoe and put a shallow ditch in using the spoil pile to raise the trail then adding rock and gravel to finish the trail. My question is do I start at the bottom of the slope or top of the slope? Do I keep the backhoe in line straddling the ditch or perpendicular to it. It is probably going to be several hundred feet long. It seems to make sense to start at the bottom and back up the hill keeping the ditch in front of me in line but I am a little worried I will be in really wet zones that may stick the tractor.
 

RCW

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It’s hard to say without knowing soil characteristics and terrain.

While you say trying to control surface water, often that surface water is derived from the groundwater underneath, that comes to the surface at lower elevations.

Sometimes a curtain drain will work well on a slope. Literally a drain tile above the area to be drained, going to daylight.

We used them to dry out areas to put subsurface sewage systems in.

Again, hard to advise without more information.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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one of those 'have to be there, to see it' but...
if you can see where the water wants to go, mark the 'exit' with a stick
I'd use a subsoiler, start at the top and go towards the exit stick. might take 2-4-6 'runs' but the water will flow down slope.
again hard to advise,did something similar and was amazed that 3 days later my 'mini wetlands' had drained and firm up .
 
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GeoHorn

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BIL (bro-in-law) bought a plot that had a sloping back yard which stayed wet continually.

He hired a man with a backhoe to dig a 40-foot long french-drain to take the water away from the house at the top of the slope.
The backhoe-guy started at the bottom and worked his way up backward just as you first imagined…. All went pretty well…until he got to the top where there was insufficient room against the bldg for the backhoe…. so the guy turned around to dig about 10’ down-hill for the ditches to meet….
When the hoe hit the ground for the second scoop near the bldg a geyser of water shot upwards…

He’d hit the water-line. The one that was leaking and creating the water-drainage problem.

Fixed the broken, rusty, old pipe…using new PVC. Then had to fill-in the 40’ unnecessary ditch because there was no-longer a water-drainage problem. 😏
 
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D2Cat

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It was dry, but tractor ruts cause collection of water. Tells me if you get the dirt leveled again (fill in the ruts) it would be dry again. Maybe you just need a bit better drainage for rainfall.

Use a loader bucket and a box blade to level out the dirt. Will have to do that after a period of dry weather.

Then decide to form runoff on each side of the path, raise the path, or both. Cutting a ditch with a backhoe seem a bit too much without seeing the whole pictue
 
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top gnome

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thank you for the replies I dug about a 10 ft long trench to see if it would drain the trail. The one good thing is the meadow has a lot of top soil. We have almost none at the house. I think the best thing to do would be to add some 4 " rock to the trail and cover with gravel but that will be expensive. There is a lot of Canadian shield just under the service so I think the water cannot really be absorbed and runs down the mountain. The funny thing is the burning restrictions have been on for weeks. It may make sense to move the trail to higher ground. The ticks are pretty extreme. just driving close to the wet area made deep ruts.
 

top gnome

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It’s hard to say without knowing soil characteristics and terrain.

While you say trying to control surface water, often that surface water is derived from the groundwater underneath, that comes to the surface at lower elevations.

Sometimes a curtain drain will work well on a slope. Literally a drain tile above the area to be drained, going to daylight.

We used them to dry out areas to put subsurface sewage systems in.

Again, hard to advise without more information.
Are you saying to put a ditch in across the top of the trail. Interesting enough there is a partial ditch across the top of the trail maybe i should lengthen that ditch as it ends close to the trail
 

RCW

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Are you saying to put a ditch in across the top of the trail. Interesting enough there is a partial ditch across the top of the trail maybe i should lengthen that ditch as it ends close to the trail
Hard to say without seeing it.

Like D2Cat said, sometimes it's a more matter of just grading to shed water.
 

Jchonline

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I have a large area of meadow that I want to put a path thru. The meadow was dry when we put the original trail in but quickly deteriorated when the farmall left ruts last year. Now it is virtually impassable. The funny thing it is on a slope.
I would like to use the backhoe and put a shallow ditch in using the spoil pile to raise the trail then adding rock and gravel to finish the trail. My question is do I start at the bottom of the slope or top of the slope? Do I keep the backhoe in line straddling the ditch or perpendicular to it. It is probably going to be several hundred feet long. It seems to make sense to start at the bottom and back up the hill keeping the ditch in front of me in line but I am a little worried I will be in really wet zones that may stick the tractor.
First, you need to wait until the ground is relatively dry/damp to work on it, or you are just going to make it worse. This might mean Fall, but it is what it is.

In general you want the water to be caught and drained/directed before it gets to the path you are constructing. This would be on the upside of the path and maybe a gentle ditch that runs along its side. At some point that water needs to cross the path, for that you need a small culvert or waterbar to keep it in check.
 

Dieseldonato

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Pictures would go a long way for giving advice.....
 

Henro

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As I think it was mentioned above, there is a huge difference between surface water and ground water. On a slope surface water runs off relatively fast, or dries up.

Ground water is spring fed. Makes a wet patch from the bottom up, rather than the top down. AND it is eternal in many cases...keeps coming up so the area never dries out sometimes.

In my case, it required finding the sources and draining them in ditches I dug, into which I put drain pipe, and covered back over. Worked mostly, but a couple spots I could have done a better job...at the sources.