Hello, We have a piece of property that has some flood plain on it, on a creek. The part of the property that isn't in the flood plain is very wet in early spring, so much so, you can't even drive into it, you would sink into the mud. The land was farmed previously and looks like it was just brush hogged for the past few years. It has a lot of Autumn olive growing on it, wild black berries poison ivy, grasses and St. John's Wort. We are planning the garden and would like to put some fruittrees in and I am worried about it being too wet. Should I try to dry out a small area somehow or improve drainage? Any ideas?
There are some rootstocks that perform better in wet land.
I would also consider Chinampas,floating gardens.
A raised bed that put your garden above flood height,perhaps done with gabions,is another option.
Or perhaps building structures to capture silt and/or water would allow you to build up these bottom lands.
Willow trees might be pressed into service for this.
For that matter,most bottom lands get water,soil,debris and seeds deposits yearly.
Maybe haul that stuff uphill, dump it in a spot that needs fertility,and treat the bottoms as your own renewable resource.
I mis-read your post to start with and thought you were talking about gardening actually in the flood plain. But I don't think you are - you are talking about the bit that isn't in the floodplain? So can you give us more idea of the terrain, is this other part of your property sloping, much higher than the floodplain, or just a bit further away from the river?
I'd plant pecans on the flood ground. The native northern pecans in MO are naturally found on flood ground. The nuts are small but taste better than the southern pecans because of their higher oil content. I'm not sure if southern pecans can stand flooding or not. I would think you could probably grow either there. Or graft any pecan onto them.
It will help if you buy your fruit trees from a nusery that tells you what rootstock they are on. Raintree Nursery and Edible Landscaping are good companies. I'd research each rootstock carefully.
I planted MM111 appleroot stock in wet area. So far so good. I believe there is a Crabtree rootstock that is even more tolerant
Peaches, plums, and apricots are usually grafted on peach rootstock. It usually can't stand wet soil at all. Lovell is supposed to be much more tolerant. I usually go with a plum rootstock even on peaches. On the Raintree site if you go to the pages where you buy just the rootstock, it has very good descriptions of the ones they sell.