• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Planting Fruit Trees in a seasonally wet soil  RSS feed

 
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi everyone,

I live in western Washington. I have a silt clay soil that doesn't drain well in the winter time. In winter the water level in the soil can be quite high. Sometimes I can dig down eighteen inches and hit water. But, in late spring, all of summer, and early fall, and sometimes during dry periods in the wintertime, the soil drains. In summer I can't dig and hit water at all. I heard someone say that you can't plant fruit trees without four feet of drainage. There are two mature apple trees on my property that were planted in 1926, and my neighbor has mature apples, cherries and plums.

I'd like people's thoughts and advice about what kinds of trees to plant and how to plant them. I don't want to put in swales in case I ever have to sell the place, but I wouldn't mind berming up the soil for a few trees in some places (into mounds).

Thank you!
 
gardener
Posts: 1186
Location: Middle Tennessee
181
books cat chicken food preservation homestead cooking purity trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi James-

I think your neighbors fruit tree success is the perfect indicator that your future trees will grow just fine. You'll likely need to irrigate them the first few years until the trees roots start reaching far and wide.
 
Posts: 30
Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey James,

have you checked out the USDA soil survey yet? It might give you an idea of why there is a seasonally high water table.
If you haven't here's the link; https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm



 
James Landreth
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
16
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Kamaar,
Thanks for sharing. I've seen the tool before and know what kind of soil it is. This area tends towards clay soils of various kinds, which causes poor drainage, but generally only in the winter when it rains a lot
 
pollinator
Posts: 942
Location: Los Angeles, CA
137
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've seen people build a raised bed, 5' x 5' and place it on top of the ground.  If you use 2 x 10's or 2 x 12's, and then you plant your tree so that the root ball is right at the top of the raised bed, you'll have all sorts of good drainage even in the wettest parts of the year.  Over time, the tree will sink roots down into that moist soil, but the root ball will mostly be above the surrounding soil line.

The down-side to that technique is that it takes a ton of garden soil to backfill a 5' x 5' x 12" box.  The root mass of a bare root fruit tree is next to nothing.  Even if you planted a 5 gal potted tree, you'd still need over a half a yard of soil per tree box.

In my experience, M111 is a great rootstock for wet soil. I've also had good luck with M9 rootstock on apples in a particularly wet area of my yard. Malling 7 is commonly used in Oregon for their wet heavy soils, and Malus Fusca is also supposed to be good for wet soils.  I have no experience with either of those two.
 
James Landreth
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Marco! I'll keep an eye out for trees on those rootstocks. I think at this point that that might be one of my strategies: to build raised mounds for some of my trees, especially the more sensitive ones. A friend of mine needs to dig some french drains, so I might be able to use that soil

Does anyone have experience with trees that are supposed to be adapted in general to wet soil? I've heard here and there that American Persimmons and Black Walnuts both tend to do well. Does anyone have any experience with these or can you suggest any other plants? I'm also thinking about planting some Mayhaw trees
 
pollinator
Posts: 349
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
18
dog duck hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can bury 4" perforated drain pipe under woody debris and wood chips to make your paths between hugelkulture beds 2-6ft high, and connect this to a french drain as a diversion swale in your path. The woody debris will eventually all form one happy fungally dominated ecosystem from path to bed and store diverted roof water, reducing flooding downstream and increasing infiltration. I have done this all over my property, utilizing a duck pond in my bird yard under fruit and maple trees as the key point pond, fertilizing the water going into the swale-trails.
 
Hey! Wanna see my flashlight? It looks like this tiny ad:
This is an example of the new permies.com Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!