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Avatar for Treedom
Oct 13, 2021 1:39 PM CST
Cincinnati
I have a landscaped area next to my backyard patio that I am hoping to find a suitable small tree for. I'm running into a problem where I have standing water and I'm unable to correct the drainage. I had a small spruce tree in this area, but it eventually died from the excessive water. I'd like to find something that would work well in the Ohio valley climate. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

Note: Suggestions for plant life (other than trees) for these soil conditions are also appreciated.
Last edited by Treedom Oct 13, 2021 2:07 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 13, 2021 1:44 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
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None that will tolerate standing water. They are trees, not pond plants.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Avatar for Treedom
Oct 13, 2021 2:08 PM CST
Cincinnati
BigBill said:None that will tolerate standing water. They are trees, not pond plants.


Got it. Any other plant life suggestions?
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Oct 13, 2021 2:35 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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You could put in hardy pond lillies, cattails, native iris that live along a ponds edge.
We have a pond owners question and answer forum within the NGA site. Perhaps you could look through those threads for information and if those prove useless, you could post your own question.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 13, 2021 2:44 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Welcome!

There are lots of trees willing to live in standing water but I can't think of anything small growing. Look at this list from U. of Pennsylvania. There are lots of trees listed but also maybe a shrub will work for you.

https://extension.psu.edu/tree...

My favorite 'water' trees are Dawn Redwood, Bald Cypress, River Birch and Weeping willow. I have a Dawn Redwood, a genetic dwarf, so another thought, find a diminutive version of a full sized water loving tree.
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Last edited by DaisyI Oct 13, 2021 2:46 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for porkpal
Oct 13, 2021 2:51 PM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
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Bald Cypress will definitely live in water.
Porkpal
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Oct 13, 2021 4:26 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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Weeping willow will work. We had one that grew where it was wet most of the time. It's medium sized, and not a dwarf.
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Oct 13, 2021 5:06 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Weeping willows might work but I don't feel that they would enjoy being underwater all year round. They are trees that be very broad in the crown and are prone to be toppled by wind. They are shallow rooted trees of comparably short lifespans.
Dawn Redwoods are gorgeous trees and along with the willow are certainly within their range of survivability. But I don't think that they would thrive in standing water either. Tolerating wet soil from time to time is one thing. Constantly in standing water is another.
Bald cypress is possibly a good choice and it too is well within its range. But unlike the previous two, it has those "cypress knees" which gather oxygen and send it to the rest of the plant.
I wonder if Atlantic White Cedar would work. I think so as I have visited several 'White Cedar Swamps' in my lifetime.
Certainly food for thought.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Oct 13, 2021 5:07 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 13, 2021 6:31 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River Twp, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Not exactly trees, but somewhat tree-like -- pussy willows grow wild in the ditch by our road and there are tame varieties that are more attractive than the wild ones.
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Oct 14, 2021 12:20 AM CST

The Bald cypress fits the bill perfectly (and is native to parts of Ohio) but when grown is anything but "small".
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Oct 14, 2021 6:00 AM CST
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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What about river birch?
I was very surprised to read the comment that trees don't grow in water... having grown up around ponds and wetlands and things, I know only too well the joys of losing my fishing lures in the branches of the trees growing in the water.

Lots of wonderful plants grow in the water as well...

Depending on depth... I could list a number of flowers that grow at the water's edge, (like lobelia, swamp hibiscus, swamp sunflower) but less in water of any depth...

you'd have to visit an arboretum... at the arboretum in Milledgeville Georgia, there's lotus that are positively gorgeous.... And of course more wetland iris than I could list... Ok, I'm blanking on the rest... but there's so much that will be happy in your yard that I'm jealous of your opportunity!
Avatar for sedumzz
Oct 14, 2021 6:27 AM CST
Your local refrigerator (Zone 7a)
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Weeping pussywillow is a good choice.

I don't know if my variety is the most common or considered wild, but it literally grows so quickly every year that even when trimming back to the top in late spring, it grows like a mop onto the ground, making a lump of leaves and fuzzies spanning 4 feet in diameter, one feet on the ground. And yes, I trim it FULLY back every year winter.
Avatar for Treedom
Oct 14, 2021 7:20 AM CST
Cincinnati
sedumzz said:Weeping pussywillow is a good choice.

I don't know if my variety is the most common or considered wild, but it literally grows so quickly every year that even when trimming back to the top in late spring, it grows like a mop onto the ground, making a lump of leaves and fuzzies spanning 4 feet in diameter, one feet on the ground. And yes, I trim it FULLY back every year winter.


For some reason, our HOA doesn't allow Weeping Willows. The awful, fragile pear trees are apparently ok though. I may be able to get away with a miniature version of something, unless the HOA people come snooping into my backyard. Appreciate the suggestions.
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Oct 14, 2021 7:29 AM CST
Your local refrigerator (Zone 7a)
Certified utric and tillie enthusia
Sedums Sempervivums Hybridizer Region: Virginia Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Oh, I am talking about weeping pussywillow , it is a shrub.
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Oct 14, 2021 7:57 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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Weeping willow has the nasty habit of invading water lines and septic systems. Most places have outlawed them.
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Oct 14, 2021 9:06 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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Might we back up a little? A landscaped area next to a patio.. do you really have room for a tree .. maybe you are no longer thinking weeping willow, dawn redwood..?
Having made many mistakes over the decades, I hope you consider more than "I had a tree, it died, I must plant another tree"
Do you really have to have standing water next to your patio? Where is this coming from? Does that mean standing water close to the house?

(Apologies if you feel I have ignored your question. Just hoping to help guide to a good answer)
Plant it and they will come.
Avatar for Treedom
Oct 14, 2021 9:17 AM CST
Cincinnati
sallyg said:Might we back up a little? A landscaped area next to a patio.. do you really have room for a tree .. maybe you are no longer thinking weeping willow, dawn redwood..?
Having made many mistakes over the decades, I hope you consider more than "I had a tree, it died, I must plant another tree"
Do you really have to have standing water next to your patio? Where is this coming from? Does that mean standing water close to the house?

(Apologies if you feel I have ignored your question. Just hoping to help guide to a good answer)


Yes - I REALLY need to have standing water. Smiling — I appreciate the contribution. The grading is such that water flows always from the house into the area that is landscaped. It's also relatively close to my neighbor's yard/fence, and limited for a variety of reasons with what I can do about the drainage. Perhaps down the road I can work on that a little more. In the meantime, I'm mainly looking for reasonable suggestions on what may tolerate the conditions before I do anything major (and potentially expensive).
Avatar for porkpal
Oct 14, 2021 9:19 AM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
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If there is actually room for a tree, Bald Cypress is known for its ability to utilize the water in swampy areas and help to dry them up.
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Oct 14, 2021 9:49 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Yes but an established, mature Bald Cypress will reach 30'+ Tall and with its "knees" that support it you could be looking at a circle of yard 20' round with the cypress trunk in the middle.

I think that the bottom line is that there is no small tree that will thrive there. For some reason you might have a very high water table right there due to the slope of the land forcing water to collect in that spot. It would probably be worse in years of above normal rainfall.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Oct 14, 2021 9:50 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 15, 2021 6:26 AM CST
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
BigBill said:
I think that the bottom line is that there is no small tree that will thrive there. For some reason you might have a very high water table right there due to the slope of the land forcing water to collect in that spot. It would probably be worse in years of above normal rainfall.


You aren't making sense, Bill...
Plenty of small trees grow in standing water.

I've already mentioned river birch, there are other birches as well.
And then there are neat shrubs like button bush and wax myrtle which may or may not be hardy in the location...

I've already suggested a field trip to the local arboretum... Another trip to the local state forest or other camp ground would also be in order... Or as I said... just go fishing...

a quick google search also turns them up easily enough...
https://www.tipsbulletin.com/t...

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