The Q&A Archives: Standing Water In Spring

Question: I have a very low area Apprx. 10 by 30 ft. where water stands in the Spring, up to a foot deep. It eventually drains off by June and remains dry unless there is a heavy rainfall. What type of shrubs could I plant in this area that would not be killed by the water yet would be attractive.

Answer: Although there are some shrubs (and trees) that will tolerate wet feet in the spring, I am not sure they would tolerate such flooding and actual deep standing water. You might experiment with some of them and see if they can handle it. You might also consider working with a landscape architect or other professional with training in grading and drainage and see if the flooding can be lessened or the runoff better controlled. Here are some shrubs and trees that tolerate swampy areas: deciduous holly (Ilex verticilata), Inkberry holly (Ilex glabra), Aronia arbutifolia, Itea virginica, shrub dogwoods (Cornus racemosa and C. sericea), River Birch (Betula nigra), Red or Swamp Maple (Acer rubrum), and willows (Salix) -- both small and large.

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