The Q&A Archives: Water loving plants

Question: My back yard does not drain very well. I need to find plants that love water and help to drain the water out of my lawn.

Answer: Although there are some plants that will tolerate a fairly wet location, if you have a severe drainage problem it might be worth looking into solving it -- Sometimes the solution is fairly simple and relatively inexpensive. A professionally trained landscape architect or other professional with experience in solving drainage problems should be able to make some suggestions based on an on-site consultation. Which plants to use there would depend on how wet it is and at what season(s), whether it is sunny or shady, and also on the soil pH. A few that might be suitable however would include river birch (Betula nigra), red maple (Acer rubrum), or swamp oak (Quercus palustris) among trees; among shrubs you might look into the shrub dogwoods, Aronia arbutifolia, Ilex verticillata, and the different types of willows (Salix). Your local county extension may also have some suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of both the water problem and the planting conditions in your yard and your design goals. Good luck with that drainage!

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