Best Trees For Rainy Environments
Selecting a tree that is drought tolerant is important for some people, but in Vancouver, WA, it might be even more important to plant trees that can withstand wet soils and rainy climates. Why? Most people assume that the more water there is, the better everything will be – that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, some trees truly cannot withstand the amount of rain that certain places get. They will start to rot from the inside out and eventually will die. Sometimes, the roots get to be too much for the wet soil and they can overturn.
So what can you do?
If you are looking to plant trees, the best thing you can do is plant trees that can withstand wet environments. That way, you won’t have to worry next time there is a rainstorm.
Here are our top choices:
1. River Birch
- Grows to about 40 feet
- Spreads about 50 feets
- Turns beautiful colors in fall
The first tree you may want to consider is the river birch or betula nigra. This is an absolutely gorgeous tree that has pink and yellow undertones to it. It is perfect to wet soils and is fairly hardy. It was originally found on the river banks in the south, but it has spread across the country at this point. This is a favorite for many people because it is so unique – the shaggy and flaking bark (sometimes referred to as “peeling skin”) gives it a softer appearance that complements many landscapes.
When the river birch reaches maturity, it becomes especially beautiful. Naturally, it will take on a pyramid shape (and it looks even better when trimmed) with diamond shaped foliage.
According to Barcham, the tree is also the tree thrives in many different conditions – including near cities and even in more arid environments. As the climate around Vancouver continues to change, it is a great option for anyone who wants to plant a tree that will stay for a long time.
2. Swamp Oak
- Grows to 45 feet tall
- Spreads about 45 feet
- Takes on a rounded appearance
The swamp oak tree is another beautiful tree that has peeling bark – this is a common thread through many of the trees that seem to thrive in wet weather. These are so popular because of the lobed, two-tone leaves that seem to attract attention. They are quite dark on the top but have a silvery-white underside that creates a lot of visual interest. In the fall, however, watch out – they are a beautiful orange-gold to yellow.
If you are looking for shade trees, these are some of the best options that you can make.
One thing to note is that while swamp oaks will take on wet soil, it should be well drained. According to the Penn State Extension, “Sloped sites are not necessarily well drained. Soils that have poor internal drainage with high clay content, or sites with high water tables may all hold too much water for trees and shrubs to survive.”
3. Shademaster Honeylocust
- Grows to 45 feet tall
- Spreads about 35 feet
- Doubles as drought tolerant
If you are looking to plant a tree that grows quite quickly, the Shademaster Honeylocust is a fantastic option. It has delicate, fragrant flowers that many people will love. It has an open silhouette that doesn’t give a ton of shade if you prune it (but it can grow thick if you don’t) but does allow for plants and grass to bloom under it. Another reason so many people love it, according to Arbor Day, is because it is tolerant to wet soil, pollution, salt, and drought.
Many homeowners will choose to plant this tree because it is very easy to plant and grow, it is quite showy, and it doesn’t make a lot of dirt, which many people don’t appreciate.
As an added bonus, they tend to bring a lot of wildlife to your yard.
4. American Hornbeam
- Can grow to 25+ feet tall
- Spreads to 20 feet
- Has a smooth trunk
The American hornbeam is a native tree to the Chicago area, but it adapts well to areas like ours. It is frequently used for shady landscapes or gardens. The new leaves are quite stunning, coming out in a reddish-purple color, though they will change from yellow to a fiery orange in the fall. Even in the winter, this tree is beautiful thanks to the blue-gray bark.
Homeowners use this tree for many purposes, including massing, screening, shade, and decoration. It isn’t too tall, so it looks absolutely great in smaller yards. It is important to plant this tree in the spring and note that it is difficult to transplant because it does have roots that spread quite a bit.
This is a tree that can live through a bunch of other types of soil, but it is really built for soggy areas.
According to Oregon Live, “Besides rainfall, there are other factors that can contribute to soggy soil, especially if the growing area sits on a high water table or has soil that is heavy clay or drains poorly. If that soggy area sits in a shady spot protected from winds, it may remain wet or soggy year-round. Water from higher elevations and surrounding hardscapes — streets, driveways, rooftops — may collect in a low spot in the yard, resulting in soggy soil.” This means that even if you do plant this tree, you do want to worry about some drainge. Need help determining what type of soil you have? Shorty’s Garden Center is a good place to go.
Contact AK Timber Services for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down to watering. Of course, we can also help you with any questions about whether or not you can remove trees or debris from your yard. Call us today at (360) 635-1076 for all of your tree care needs – we offer free estimates. No matter what, make sure that you do not take tree trimming into your own hands, as this can cause quite a bit of damage.
Header photo courtesy of patchattack on Flickr!