How to choose the best trees for wet soils

Selecting the right trees for your site can be a daunting process, especially if you have the added issue of contending with difficult site conditions, as well as satisfying your tastes and styles. Selection of tree species to plant in areas prone to water logging or damp conditions is fairly limited, as there are only a number of trees that will tolerate this adverse condition.    Generally trees need both oxygen and water blended in measure in which to thrive but in recent times too much rain has contributed to standing water and flash flooding where only the wetland group of trees are able to survive. Typically, for areas that get saturated for more than one week of the year the following Genus are best to plant; AlderWillowPoplar and Swamp Cypress.  The following are our top 5 recommended trees for wet soils:

Alnus glutinosa (Alder)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Populus tremula (Poplar)

Salix alba Tristis (Weeping Willow)

Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress)


Apart from the Swamp Cypress all of these can be planted as multi stems or standards and are a great way to lock up soils that may be prone to erosion. Multi stems are also great on windy sites as they are bottom heavy and are easy to establish without worrying about staking.

Don’t be tempted to go with any other genus on land prone to repeated waterlogging. Prunus, for example, will hate it and soon fail so beware, you can’t outwit Mother Nature! Choosing the wrong tree species for a water logged sites can have extremely detrimental results, as wet sites cause restriction in root productivity, root decay and even tree failure in very short periods of time. Therefore, choosing trees for your project that are tolerant of wet conditions from the offset is a great way of avoiding the disappointment of tree failure and ensuring that the trees you plant pass the test of time.

If you are tempted by alternatives, one thing you can do to aid planting success is mound plant, i.e. planting with half of the container root system above ground level and mounding up the soil to cover it. By planting proud of ground level you are likely to give the root system greater and longer access to oxygen as the some of the root system will be above the water line.

When planting Barcham Trees you have the added benefit of immediate results following tree planting, as our unique container grown tree production method produces trees with a complete root system that will readily establish and continue to thrive from that point onwards. If you need any help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced tree team via chat, email or telephone.

View all Barcham trees

Bulk discount when you buy any mix of 10 trees or more