The Q&A Archives: Flooded back yard

Question: My yard floods. I need to plant shrubs that will soak up the water.

Any recommendations? I prefer a shrub that will stay green all year.


Answer: Inkberry holly (Ilex glabra), a broadleafed evergreen that looks a bit like boxwood, might grow well there. The only other evergreen I can think of that will tolerate moister soil is arborvitae and there are numerous cultivars in different shapes and sizes of that available.

Sometimes flooding can be mitigated by creating an improved drainage pattern, perhaps a configuration of swales to redirect the runoff of water or by installing culverts or drains to remove it. (Some solutions are very inexpensive, others can be costly, it depends on the site and the circumstances causing the flooding.) I mention this because it might be worth considering. You might want to look into that by consulting on site with a degreed landscape architect or someone with professional training and experience in drainage issues.

Your local professional nursery staff may have additional suggestions of specific plants based on a more detailed understanding of the overall planting conditions and your design goals. To some extent your plant selection will depend on how flooded (and for how long at a time) the site really is.
Best of luck with the flooding.

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