Draining a swampy yard is difficult, time-consuming and costly. Instead of trying to amend the land and make it more appealing to trees, why not just choose trees that tolerate the swampy soils the way they are? Here's a look at four trees that will not only survive, but actually thrive, in your wet, flooded yard.
Swamp White Oak
Native to swamplands in North America, this tree variety will thrive even if your yard is under a few inches of water year-round. Swamp white oaks reach about 65 – 80 feet in height upon maturity, and are known for their dark green leaves which turn yellow-brown in the fall. They do produce acorns, which may attract squirrels and other creatures to your backyard.
A willow oak is a good choice if you're seeking a fast-growing tree to provide you with shade within a few years. This tree variety has a round shape and dense foliage, making it a good shade tree. It reaches about 60 – 75 feet in height when mature, and is known for its tolerance of a wide array of conditions, such as flooding, drought and air pollution. Willow oaks have light green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall.
There are many types of elm trees, but few are as tolerant of wet soils as the lacebark elm. This tree variety typically grows to about 40 – 50 feet tall, and its broad shape makes it a great shade tree. Lacebark elms are named for their unique bark pattern, which resembles lace, and they're also sometimes known as Chinese elms. Their leaves turn yellow and red in the fall. Lacebark elms tend to naturally grow several trunks, but an experienced arborist can train yours to grow with a single, straight trunk if you prefer.
Sweet gum trees tolerate wet and flooded soils, but they do not grow well in alkaline soils, so make sure you conduct a soil test before planting. They do not tolerate periods of drought, either. Sweet gum trees are about 60 feet tall when mature, and they are known for their straight trunks and conical shapes. Their leaves are bright green and turn orange and red in the fall. Sweet gum trees naturally develop low branches as they mature, so you'll want to have yours pruned if you wish to sit beneath it.
Don't let your yard's swampy nature keep you from planting trees. If you choose one or more of the varieties above, you can establish a little grove that will provide shade and greenery for generations to come. Talk to your local arbor experts, such as Advanced Arbor Care, for more information.