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planting a seasonal flood area

 
Marianne Cicala
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a couple/ few times a year, our forest river floods an area dumping all kinds of yummy run-off goodness and sand, which is a treat in this land of clay. I've seen 100 year old whole oaks go screaming by, so the current is pretty strong. What could I plant on the river's edge that would not get creamed in these floods. They happen mainly in the spring, but with the past couple day's 5" and counting, it may happen at any time. Within a couple days of the rains stopping it quickly returns to normal.
During the late summer common drought, this area is a few feet above the river's water.
thanks
Marianne
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S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I really have no idea, however I would advise that you plant from seed and then graft something on it if you must.
Otherwise the tree will have a small or no tap root and it will be easily toppled.
Mullberry, walnut family. those sound like good ideas to me.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Seed will not work as the power in these floods would eliminate anything that didn't have some real stamina and age to it.
but thanks for the nut tree idea..... I'll look into that
 
Mark Shepard
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On the riverbanks whatever you plant WILL get creamed. That's what riverbanks do... Plant riverbank species. Most of which tolerate periodic "creaming".
The USDA Ntl agroforestry center has a ton of information on Riparian zone planting and even streambank stabilization using willows etc. Here's a link to a site with way too much info on it...
http://nac.unl.edu/riparianforestbuffers.htm

IN from the river's edge you will want to focus, again, on bottomlands species... The Walnut family is a good choice....
The system from taller to shorter could include the followng species:

Walnut or Pecan
cherry
mulberry
grape
raspberry
currants or gooseberries.

This system is described in the book Restoration Agriculture available here: http://www.forestag.com/book.html
 
osker brown
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Location: Southern Appalachia
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pawpaw, elderberry, hazelnut and aronia are also riparian species. These wouldn't go directly on the bank, but they won't mind inundation or wet feet. I'm surprised Mark didn't mention hazels, old timers in the Southern Appalachians call them "rivernuts", I think it may be a climate thing, in warmer areas they prefer more water, whereas farther north they don't need it as much?

Others could be Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata, a good nitrogen fixer with dense roots), River cane (primo winter animal fodder with dense root net), Sassafras (a great leaf vegetable plus roots for flavoring), Sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata) a perennial herbaceous vegetable that prefers moist soils.

Good Luck!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Thanks so much! Willows - of course as we've planted them in many boggy areas and they are very happy. perfect!!!
 
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