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Struck water digging small hole for fruit tree  RSS feed

 
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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So I was digging a small hole for a cherry tree today, and 1.5 feet down, I struck the water table.  I live in Western WA, and it rains a lot here.  Do you think it is OK to plant the tree in this hole?  I have planted trees in this general area before, but never this deep in the rainy season, so the water table wasn't as high then. Maybe I should save the tree for a month or so and then plant it when the water table isn't so high, so the tree has a chance to get established?  Can this tree thrive in a spot with a water table which is this high much of the year?  If so, should I build up a mound and plant it in there?  Thanks?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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id build a wide mound to plant on, higher or lower depending on the area, where and how water moves, and of course the water table.
 
steward
Posts: 3422
Location: woodland, washington
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maybe plant something else there and put the cherry elsewhere.  something that doesn't mind wet feet like that.  quince, or something on quince rootstock, handles seasonally saturated dirt well.  most of the Vacciniums.  Italian prunes.  I'm not too familiar with what cherries like, myself, and some species and varieties might tolerate the conditions you've got.

or go for a pit and mound sort of scenario.  you could even make yourself a little seasonal pond with mounds for the fruit trees.  put some camas and cranberries and maybe wapato in the wet stuff.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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are you sure it is the water table or is it ground water snow melt??

if it IS the water table you really should build it up so that the roots have at least 2 feet and better 3 above the water table..for a shallow rooted fruit tree, for something with deeper roots you might even want to move  it to a drier area..

here in our fields our water table is very high, esp now ..it is above ground..tee hee..

but we do have some areas where the water table is quite a bit deeper on the property..
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Thanks for your replies so far guys. I am on about 5 acres here north of Seattle.  Most of my forest is under about 4 inches of water.  When they built this place, they dug a large pond, 18 feet deep, and used the sand in it to mound up a portion of the property where the house, septic field, and lawn would go.  I am trying to plant the trees in that lawn, which is only like twp foot above the level of the flooded forest.  I really don't have many options about where to plant trees because of lots of big beautiful old cedar and pine trees which cast a lot of shade.
 
pioneer
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Posts: 10534
Location: Portugal
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Wow - I wish I had a foot and a half of soil before I hit rock, let alone water!! 

During our 'wet season', the whole depth of soil is totally waterlogged in a lot of places, and we rely on not getting solid rain for longer than four weeks else we start to lose trees.  But we can't plant on mounds because the soil dries out almost completely over summer, and any raised bits are the first to dehydrate as the water seems to get sucked out into the surrounding soil.  Raised beds just don't work here anything past May.  We tend to plant trees anywhere just to see what will work, and anywhere we lose trees due to waterlogging, we try a more water-resistant variety next time.  We also mulch as heavily as can over as wide an area as possible as this seems to preserve soil moisture for as long as possible in the summer, but we've also found that a layer of mulch will help stop (not totally prevent) young trees dying in wet soil.  I think it gives the shallower roots a moist but not waterlogged area to grow in. 

How dry does your soil get in the summer?  Could you get away with mounding?  If not, I think I'd try planting it not too deeply, so a lot of the roots are less than a foot and half deep, and then mulching as extra insurance.  I've had young trees survive far more waterlogged soil than I would have expected, just not if it's totally waterlogged for more than a couple of weeks at a time. 
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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you have said flooded, so is this still just snow melt or is it perennially flooded?
 
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