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What trees can grow in a swamp?

 
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So I have about 3 acres of swamp on my property  right now most of it is open with no trees. Surrounded on the edges with thick brush. Right now there is about 1-2 inches of standing water or puddles of water with mainly grasses and weeds growing. Are there any trees that could tolerate those conditions? I would like to make it more useful and have trees growing there and have it be more of a wooded area that I could eventually use for firewood, and I would just prefer it to be a forest area rather than weeds.
 
pioneer
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CYPRESS!!! I love cypresss It also is great for lumber. I would suggest visiting the nearest wild swamp. What state and zone are you?
 
gardener
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Swamp oak is another one that can do well.
 
pollinator
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It is hard to say without knowing where you live exactly, but here in Maine White Cedar grows well in wet locations, but it grows very slowly.

Red maple does well with wet feet and grows fairly fast.

And on my own land, under the direction of a forester, I have planted Black Spruce which likes wet feet. It grows very slowly though.

Eastern Hemlock likes wet feet too, but can tricky to propogate.

(I am considering logging the area where I planted those black spruce, so if I get a chance I will take some pictures. The moose stunted their growth when I first planted it in 1994, but with some pictures you can see what Black Spruce has for growth over 25 years. It is kind of important because planted trees fair far differently then naturally propogated trees.)
 
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Based on your other post, it looks like you're in Michigan. How swampy of a swamp are you talking about? Is this a full on mangrove, or just some place that floods from time to time?
 
Matt Dale
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Huxley Harter wrote:CYPRESS!!! I love cypresss It also is great for lumber. I would suggest visiting the nearest wild swamp. What state and zone are you?



Yes I should have included that :) I’m in Michigan zone 5b.
 
Matt Dale
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John Wolfram wrote:Based on your other post, it looks like you're in Michigan. How swampy of a swamp are you talking about? Is this a full on mangrove, or just some place that floods from time to time?



It’s definitely a year round swamp. This is my first year here so I don’t know how high the water gets but we have had much more rain than normal this year, this past 2 weeks are the first weeks we have had of summer with no constant rain. And right now it’s a couple inches of water. I don’t know how to really answer how swampy it is.
 
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After I cut up a Sycamore for firewood I used the branches to weave a fence and the stems touching the ground sprout roots (we had a wet spring) A log left for a year sprouted and I left a log partially submerged in hopes also. I like to cut Sycamore before the leaves emerge because they'll make me itch.
 
Travis Johnson
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Black Spruce is guaranteed to grow, but I just checked the Black Spruce I planted, and the results are dismal. They might be 3-4 inches in diameter and 15-20 feet high in 25 years of growth. Granted they are now established, so they will grow faster now, but they might be log sized by the time my Grandchildren retire. :-(

I got some pictures, but my card reader is on the fritz. I will try to get them posted another way soon.
 
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Does anyone in this situation know if willow works. Seems like a good fit.
 
Travis Johnson
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Shawn Harper wrote:Does anyone in this situation know if willow works. Seems like a good fit.




Willow will grow, but that tree should be outlawed in my opinion. THE most useless tree ever!
 
pollinator
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I respectfully disagree, Travis. Coppice willow is my go-to carbon crop. The poles get used for all kinds of things and in the end they all go into the kiln for biochar. I use pollards to hold up simple structures like my hops trellis. It's great browse for livestock, with lots of condensed tannins that help keep internal parasites under control. It's faster and easier to propagate in bulk than anything else on the property - just cut it in wintertime and stick it in the ground.

Caveats: I only plant a sterile hybrid (Matsudana). And I would think long and hard before I planted up a swamp or wetland area, because if it spread too much or I changed my mind, getting it out of there could be a lengthy and painful endeavour. Most of mine is intermingled with other trees, especially hazelnuts, and on dry land.

Instead of willow, alder would be my pick for the OP's situation. Nitrogen fixing, fast growing, decent timber, easily coppiced if that's what you want. Plays well with other species for the most part.
 
John Wolfram
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Matt Dale wrote:It’s definitely a year round swamp. This is my first year here so I don’t know how high the water gets but we have had much more rain than normal this year, this past 2 weeks are the first weeks we have had of summer with no constant rain. And right now it’s a couple inches of water. I don’t know how to really answer how swampy it is.


Sounds quite swampy. I'd stick with those trees listed as "tolerant" on pages 3 and 4 of the following article.

trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1059&context=utk_agexfores

In your other post, you mentioned fruit trees, so persimmons would be the way to go from that list.

Edit: For some reason, it would let me hyperlink that PDF, so you'll just have to copy and paste.

 
pollinator
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Hi Matt,

Silver Maple might do ok with that much water, and Black Cottonwood or a few other types of Cottonwood may grow well in zone 5b with all that much standing water. Certian types of Willows will grow ok in those conditions too. Certian types of Aspen may also grow well, and essentially any type of tree you see growing right next to bodies of water, where the water table is up very high most of the year. Sadly in that hardiness zone, most of the tree species that will grow well in that much water, tend to be poor quality wood. That means it grows up fast, and tends to break apart in storms. So to avoid large hazardous trees with costly removal scenarios, plan on renewable usage, if implamenting larger tree species: like planting a cottonwood tree, growing it for 10 or so years, then before it gets to big to easily remove and replant, harvest the tree and make shitake logs. Softer hardwoods won't be long lasting mushroom logs, but they will make good use of the material if you dont have other applications. If big trees aren't an option, Willows hardy to zone 5, may be your best option.

Hope that helps.
 
gardener
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http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1059&context=utk_agexfores


Silver maple, sycamore, and black willow all are happy with their roots largely submerged. I would probably pile up a mound of muck and stick cuttings in it for best results, though willow will take root as a broken-off twig in a creekbed.

Black willow would not be ideal firewood as it is very light, but it would burn fine if you season it. The others are decent firewood, and strong enough for many lumber uses.
 
pollinator
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I don't think anyone yet has mentioned elderberry, which will make a small tree and produce fruit.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I would call it a bush rather than a tree (though maybe they grow differently in the California climate), but it would probably do well and produce good fruit. It wouldn't produce any usable wood, though - you would want other species for that..Again, I might try making mounds to start cuttings in rather than plant directly in water.
 
Burl Smith
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If River Birch hasn't been mentioned I'm mentioning it.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/wet-soil-trees.htm
 
pollinator
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For food, you could potentially mound soil and or/build hugels to give root room. This can work for some things. I even know of a woman who apparently grows peaches in a swamp this way!

What's your hardiness zone?

Pacific crabapple is an option, including as a rootstock. Hawthorn and quince can take wet feet I hear, and Highbush cranberry (some varieties, I believe including American, are apparently vastly more palatable). Butternut, black walnut, and even heartnut can work in wet conditions too, especially with some root room in a mound. I've heard American persimmon can work too. Some sources list Meader as hardy to zone 3, though I have my doubts.
 
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