En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Need a tree to grow in the middle of a retention pond in Pennsylvania

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

Yellowing foliage on a lemon cypress from St. Charles MO
May 22, 2011 - I recently received a lemon cypress tree as a gift. After about a month we transplanted it outside and the foliage turned from a light green to a yellow color. Is this normal? The tree doesn't app...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California
July 06, 2011 - I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and we just lost an old Sycamore in our horse arena. I would like to replace it with some thing that is fast growing, and will be able to withstand life around horses, o...
view the full question and answer

Sending a picture of an oak from Yorktown TX
December 02, 2011 - How I can I send a pic of my oak in Yorktown near Cuero?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for a globe willow tree
July 27, 2009 - We are interested in replacing a pine tree with a globe willow because they grow fast but everything i have been reading about them scares me. is there another tree comparable to a globe willow that g...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center