Q. Can you suggest trees to grow in a wet area of my garden?
Trees like to grow in well-drained soil, but a few tree species can thrive in waterlogged areas. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is one. (This a deciduous conifer.)
Quite a few species will grow in damp conditions but not in waterlogged soil. Here are some choices:
Red maple (Acer rubrum) - beautiful fall color
Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)
River birch (Betula nigra) – attractive bark
Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) – large, dramatic leaves
Willows (Salix spp.) –attractive catkins
Alders (Alnus spp.) – typically grow on the banks of rivers
Dawn redwood – (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) – another deciduous conifer
Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) – beautiful, fragrant white flowers in June
American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) – tolerates both dry and wet conditions
Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) – great fall color (yellow, orange and red)
Spruces - e.g. White spruce (Picea glauca), Black Spruce (P. mariana), Red spruce (P. rubra)
These are all native species except dawn redwood, native to China, and London plane, a hybrid between the American sycamore and the European sycamore (P. orientalis).
It is preferable to plant small specimens, as larger trees that have been grown in a nursery for some time may not adjust easily to new conditions. The lack of aeration for roots under wet growing conditions is not well tolerated by larger trees. Young trees have the innate ability to adjust to wet conditions, but it would really be difficult for larger trees to adapt, especially if they have been grown in the drier conditions of most nurseries.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service