Thread: Which trees do well in poorly drained soil with standing water?

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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Western NY, Zone 6

    Re: RE: Which trees do well in poorly drained soil with standing water?

    Quote Originally Posted by JustRandy
    Any way you can truck in some dirt and raise the grade?
    The grading around my house is actually pretty good, sloping away from the foundation all around. The top layer of soil dries out nicely even after heavy rains. Because the composition of the soil 12-18" underneath is heavy clay, water retention is definitely an issue. The overall area I live in is flat, so grading away from foundations is very important. We had lots of soil trucked in for portions of our lot, 30+ loads of a sandy loam/top soil mixture (for better drainage). Additionally, I had about 20-25 yards of additional topsoil brought in for patching up low spots in our front yard and for other general purpose use. Prior to the house being built, the 2 acre lot we purchased had a consistent 16-20" of topsoil throughout that had been farmed for decades (soybeans, corn, etc.). So the topsoil that was scraped away from the house during the foundation excavation was used to backfill during the rough grade, and that soil alone was probably 15-20 truckloads worth of heavy, rich farm soil.

    Plenty of my neighbors have grown trees without issues, but I've noticed that in all scenarios their trees were raised above grade. Older trees have of course settled over time but are still doing fine. Most of my neighbors have blue spruces, crimson king maples, red maples, pin oaks, sunburst locusts, cherry trees, fruit trees, and pear trees. The only trees not doing well in our lot are the crimson kings - I have 2 Cleveland pears, a river birch, and 5 hybrid poplars that are doing perfectly fine in our soil. Then again, all of those trees tolerate wet soil conditions.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Dalton, GA

    RE: Which trees do well in poorly drained soil with standing water?

    Will digging a pond lower the water table? Maybe you can put in a small pond-like thing... water garden or some hole in the ground where the water goes so its not so wet on top of your clay.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Western NY, Zone 6

    RE: Which trees do well in poorly drained soil with standing water?

    Yes, I've considered digging a big hole in the ground for allowing excess water to collect in there (aka pond), although I'm certainly not going to go that route on account of one crimson king in poor condition. If the situation continues to be a problem next year, a pond will probably be in order. In cases where I have planted trees in mounds above grade, they are doing quite well, and once the trees have a chance to fully adapt to the soil, I am optimistic that they'll take off like rockets in terms of new growth.

    My 5 Arbor Day hybrid poplars showed signs of stress through most of July, probably due to excessively wet soil combined with being transplanted out of their containers, but now they are growing vigorously again. At planting time, the seedlings had trunks that were about half of the thickness of the bamboo sticks that I used to stake the trees, now the poplar trunks are twice as thick as the bamboo stakes. I think that's incredible progress for a month of growth in the ground. My 2 Cleveland Pears and River Birch are also thriving and have pushed out a lot of new growth since planting them in the ground during June (they were containerized).

    I've also been trying to establish a newly planted lawn, and just recently I was able to stop watering regularly because the lawn has sprouted nicely and no longer needs daily watering (nature is still giving us plenty of rain, not to mention high temps in the 60F range this week, ideal for grass growing). I'm sure while the lawn was being watered regularly, I was contributing to a higher-than-normal water table.

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