• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

shallow groundwater table problematic or beneficial?

 
sonny gonza
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hiya! I have planted about 12 fruit trees on this land of ours, recently we dug a well and the water started to show up at only 1.8 meters of depth. so now I'm concerned that the groundwater table showing up at such shallow depths will eventually be bad for the roots of my fruit trees. when the trees get bigger and the roots penetrate deeper and eventually reach the water, will they not rot? The neighbour said that yes the roots will rot. but the pine trees and some native trees on the land that has been growing for over 20 years (and are huge) do not seem to complain. so, is my concern warranted or not? thanks for any help
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some trees don't mind 'standing in water', and most of the native trees that are doing well are probably among that group. Most fruit trees, however do not like to have constantly wet roots.

For example, weeping willows (and many other willows) will usually be found alongside creeks and rivers. They are very thirsty, and usually only do well near constant water.

 
sonny gonza
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
darn. so waht now? should I just give up on my dreams of having a permaculture fruit orchard on this site, or is there something I can do about this shallow waterbed?
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 369
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
10
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
1.8 meters is not really a problem depth at all... Even though trees can root further down, they don't generally need to and they will adapt to the water table as they bump into it. It's great that they can hit constant water over time.

In my case where water table is closer to 1m, I try to plant into a mound 0.5m high to get a little space, and I select rootstocks more tolerant of wet ground (I also have slow draining clay..): Myrobalan (plum), Quince C, native hawthorn (small quince/pear), OHx97, Betch (large pear), P18, M111 (large apple), malus fusca (midsize apple)
Again, I'm mostly listing these for tougher cases - I think you are fine to plant with reckless abandon!
 
Chris DeBoer
Posts: 30
Location: Boulder, CO
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Sonny!

I have planted some apples on my father's property which has a creek that forks and then merges back together a few hundred meters downstream creating what we call "the island"... We are in a semi-arid region of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and during spring snow melt I think the water table rises a bit but I dug 4 feet down and didn't hit water so decided to just go for planting the trees.

I agree with Eric in that as the roots hit the top of the water table they will likely grow more horizontally (I think pines generally grow this way).

I just planted a second pair rare varieties from an orchard restoration project in southwest colorado.
 
Abbey Battle
Posts: 63
Location: Wealden AONB
1
bike books cat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The water table on my land is more like an inch above ground level.
I have done waht Eric has done and planted my trees on small raised mounds. You could always try mulch your trees a bit at a time to encourage higher root growth and raise the ground level a little. I have own rootstock trees so there is no graft or issue with suckers etc.
Failing that, can you plant any thirsty edibles between your trees?

When did you plant your trees? Can you lift and raise them? Though I would just be inclined to leave them be, my old apple tree has it's roots in a bog.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 339
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wouldn't worry about most kinds of trees. Peach are probably the most sensitive to wet ground. I think they could probably handle it. They will still have a lot of roots above the ground water. My ground water is about six feet down most of the year. I think a couple feet higher might be better. We get too dry most summers. I think pecans would grow great there.

I would always recommend selecting  the best rootsstock for each tree and each site if you are grafting or buying grafted trees.  Some rootstocks are much more tolerant of wet soil.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic