Tree to help with water issues

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by meth, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Posts: 121

    Okay guys need some help and advice please. I have a section of my yard that tends to hold water. After a heavy rainfall about a 20x30 section will pool up a few inches deep and sit there for a week to dry up. I have had an excavator out who brought in fill and did some re-grading a little over a year ago. Well 4k later and I still have this same issue on two different areas of the lawn. I had him back out again and now he wants to install drainage pipes to move the water out.

    Sounds like it should have been the first approach instead of the 4k fill job. Anyway, I really don't have much $ to put into it this year so I am hoping to tackle it (at least temporarily) with some water loving tress to soak up as much water as possible in the yard. I know weeping willows are supposed to be great at this but they are so messy I don't want to plant them.

    Doing some research I have come up with Red Maples, swamp magnolias and river birch as options. I am in zone 6A.

    The question I have is will these trees absorb enough water to make a difference or am I just throwing money in the wind?
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    The only thing this is going to accomplish is help move surface water, not fix the problem.

    You need to determine why you are getting ponding in these areas (compaction, impermeable layer, etc...).

    IMO, planting a tree may or may not help. It might impact the length of ponding time, however that depends entirely on root distribution. The only reasonable way to deal with this is to either increase your soils saturated hydraulic conductivity or to (re)move the surface water.
     
  3. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Posts: 121

    Thanks - I realize I will need to do a more permanent solution for this issue, however I just can't undertake this project this year and I am trying to dry out the yard for the kids. That's why I was hoping to plant some water hungry trees to at least get me 50% better in the short term.

    Afterwards in the next couple of years I will install some drainage
     
  4. CorkscrewWillow

    CorkscrewWillow LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 36

    Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) or London Plane tree (what you'll find in most nurseries), Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) would be on my list as well as the River Birch and silver maple.

    All of these trees have other issues, Sycamore fruit balls, Shallow roots, weak structure, acorns, etc.
    But as I often say, by the time they get big enough to show these problems, 20+ years from now, you'll most likely have moved and it will be the new homeowners problem but at least there won't be any water in the yard:laugh:
     
  5. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Posts: 121

    Corkscrew - so have you had success with "dryin" up wet areas with these trees? If the problems come 20 years down the road with the trees, I would sure hope to have moved on by then.

    I'm hoping this is a real option for me and that I don't end up planting trees and still having the same ponding in the areas.
     
  6. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,673

    The problem is that you can't plant a tree big enough to do you any good in the short term. Even if you had a big tree mover put in something with an eight-foot root ball (costing thousands of dollars), it wouldn't have enough roots to do you any good for, I'm guessing, several years.

    If an excavator digs down in that area they would probably find the reason for the poor drainage.
     
  7. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Posts: 121

    Thanks - I know the answer is to dig againa and probably install some proper drainage. The probelm is $ right now and after investing so much in it already I just can't do it in the short term
     
  8. CorkscrewWillow

    CorkscrewWillow LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 36

    I will admit that planting trees is a long term fix as d and h alluded to.
    I have two clients with similar issues and the trees have helped, planted 3-5 years ago, but it does still remain wet in the areas, though not as long.
    I have also been improving the soil, aeration, organic matter, etc.

    Your wet area may be a result of construction compaction at your home site.
    It could be from subsoil (clay) that is now on the surface from construction.
    Or something else.

    Check your soil for some issue or have some drainage installed and just send the water downhill to your neighbors ;)
     
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    You need to get someone out there who knows soils and how to audit them. It may be possible to drain the water in these low spots to a more permeable layer, if one exists. That would be the cheapest, short term solution.
     
  10. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Posts: 121

    Thanks again - lucky enough its the back portion of my property and at least 40 ft from the house. After a rain the majority of it is soggy and then these two areas of pooling. It makes mowing impossible unless we get a week of dry weather.

    The weird thing is this is fairly new (within 2 years). The house is 20 years old and in speaking with the neighbors they have never seen any water issues previously so I am not sure what has changed
     

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