En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 03, 2010

From: Lansdale, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Need a tree to grow in the middle of a retention pond in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a shallow retention pond in my yard in South Eastern Pennsylvania. The pond is used for rainwater runoff and also for natural springs that are located below the surface. If I plant a tree in the center of the pond: 1) Will it survive and grow 2) Will it absorb the shallow water that is usually retained 3) Will it harden the land where the retention pond is and 4) What trees would you recommend if this is possible? Thanks

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to begin with question four: What plants to use? I'm not going to make recommendations since I don't know the size or any particulars about the site, but let me show you how to use our Native Plants Database in order to come up with some possibilities for your yard. Go to the Native Plant Database page and scroll down to the Combination Search Box. Make the following selections; select Pennsylvania under STATE, Tree under HABIT, and Perennial under DURATION. Check Sun under Light Requirement, Wet under Soil Moisture, and click the Submit Combination Search button. You will get a list of 35 species of native plants that meet these criteria and occur in Pennsylvania. Clicking on the name of each plant species will pull up its NPIN page which contains a description, growth requirements, and images. You can select a tree that has the features and is the right size for your yard.  Pay particular attention to the entries for Native Habitat and Soil Description on each page.

I gather that there is always water in the pond because of the springs, so you are going to need a tree that is adapted to growing in wet conditions. The tree will use the water that it needs, but you can't expect it to drain the swamp. You might consider using additional plants to help absorb the water. Having more plants in the area will help firm up the soil.

You can make a similar list for shrubs and/or herbs by making the appropriate selections in the combination search box. 

Here are three trees that may be of interest. For help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Montgomery County office of the Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Quercus palustris (pin oak)


Chamaecyparis thyoides

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Quercus palustris

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Trees for a privacy barrier
October 06, 2007 - What would you suggest to plant for a privacy barrier along a back fence in Austin Texas? They need to be hardy and atleast 10 to 12 feet tall to block my neighbor's second story view of my yard.
view the full question and answer

Plants in bloom in April in Stuart FL
February 24, 2012 - Can you tell me which plants I might reasonably expect to see in bloom in April of this year?
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native mulberry tree for Woodlands, TX.
November 22, 2010 - Does a truly "native" mulberry tree exist and where can one get such a tree. So many I've seen are "white" or "chinese" and were imported for a never-to-happen silk industry. I'd like to pur...
view the full question and answer

Tree for New Jersey shore
May 02, 2008 - I'm looking for a small tree (max. 15 ft. with small spread) that will tolerate salt spray, wind, and full sun at the NJ shore. There is no protection in this location.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center