Forum home Plants

Trees for waterlogged soil

can anyone make any recommendations for trees (preferably flowering or coloured) which will do well in a poorly draining (often waterlogged in winter) section of the garden?
many thanks


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    Willow is the obvious one.
    Rowans [mountain ash not whitebeam] will tolerate a lot of wet, as in the wild they grow on soggy moorland, and the lower slopes of hills [often in the edges of burns up here ]  but it would be helpful to see the area and also have a bit more info about the cause, and the extent, of the waterlogging  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    Most of the water-loving trees such as weeping willow will grow very large, so we really need to know how much space we are talking about here.  However, Amelanchier will do ok in soggy soils and there are a lot to choose from in both size and form.  Has flowers, berries and the leaves turn very rich coloured in autumn.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thank you. Not a huge area really, probably a few square metres and not too far from a fence.
    would shrubs maybe be a better idea?
    it’s just poorly draining, quite clayey soil, it’s the back end of the garden and the same for all of the houses on my side of the close. 
  • Ps - I thought a tree would look nicest in the location as we have a bench there and a seating are. But obviously no good planting something that won’t take very well. Thanks again
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    I'd avoid willow then  :)
    You may find that adding a load of manure will help with the general conditions of the soil, and then you can plant something as already suggested. The more planting there is, the more the excess water gets used up.
    Shrubs like Viburnums will tolerate a lot of moisture, so you could always have several plants there - a tree, a shrub and some lower growing planting - Hellebores and Heucheras for example, and bulbs like snowdrops. All those like a damper spot.
    Acteas also like consistently moist soil, and are happy in clay soil. I grow Camassias [they flower in late spring] which also like permanently moist soil. They're bulbs, and are available from good suppliers like Peter Nyssen.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 85,976
    Cornus are perfectly happy if they get winter flooding ... I've used them to help stabilise the bank of a stream which flooded in the winter.  Willows of course, and alder are both happy with their toes in water too.  

    Maybe ask @punkdoc when he's back from his trip away ... his garden has a stream and gets flooded in the winter. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,459
    Cornus could be a good choice, as they are easily pruned to control size. Most have white flowers in summer and plain green foliage, but there are some pretty variegated forms with silver green and white leaves.
    There are others, notably C.sibirica,  that have brightly coloured stems in winter when they happily take centre stage. These have to be hard pruned in spring as it is only the new shoots that colour, and this means they will not get too big for their space.
    Cornus mas has bright greenish yellow flowers in very early spring. This one can get as tall as a small tree, but can be pruned.

  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,579
    edited July 2021
    Trees that can cope with running moving water/the odd winter flood is very different from a plant/shrub/tree sitting in  saturated ground/standing water.  
    Running water is oxygenated...that makes all the difference.
    Running water is slower to freeze.
    Wet, saturated  ground is devoid of oxygen. Ground that in winter may freeze.

    eg.  Think about Rowans. They are happiest with their roots in amongst rock..even growing from huge boulders.You rarely see them in a bare moorland which has permanently wet boggy soil.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Thank you all so much for your help and advice, will definitely be looking into these suggestions 😊
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    May I just point out that there are MANY willows, some little bushy types that are low growing, right up to huge trees. The joy of many is that they can be cut back each year to produce attractive shrubs suitable for quite small places.
Sign In or Register to comment.