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

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
August 23, 2011 - What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
view the full question and answer

Small native trees/shrubs for Corpus Christi, TX
July 02, 2012 - Which small native trees or tall shrubs would do well in full sun in Corpus Christi for privacy along a fence line? Blooms are a bonus and evergreen is preferred.Searches on the website aren't produc...
view the full question and answer

Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
July 24, 2011 - I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Magnolia grandiflora in Las Vegas NV
January 17, 2011 - I live in Las Vegas, NV and have several Magnolia Grandiflora trees. They were doing well until 2 years ago when they started losing their leaves. The leaves turn brown or very dark on the edges. One ...
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