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Florida Water Table and Mature Trees  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Crescent City, Florida
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If a species of tree must have "well drained soil" otherwise the roots will rot, what happens when a mature tree reaches the water table, which in many parts of Florida, is quite high?
 
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I could be wrong, but I suspect, that they will adapt and thrive. Here in Tennessee, there are many man made lakes created by the army corp of engineers. Growing along the banks are mature trees such as oak, maple, hickory, sweetgum, cedar, persimmon, and walnut for example, that are not generally known to thrive in swamp like conditions like a cypress would, but are clearly thriving indeed.
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Tree survival is more dependent on the ability to gather oxygen and water, oaks and other trees can survive "marginal" areas (where the soil stays saturated most of the year) the exception is the Swamp Oak, which grows quite well in swamps that have saturated soil most of the year.

What happens to tree roots when they reach the water table is that the growing tips drown, new roots form back up the root where they are not soaking in water.
This is how many "flooded" trees survive, as long as the water recedes for part of the year, the root systems can make adjustments and if they can make good adjustments the trees live, if not the trees die a slow death.
This can be seen in just about any swampy area, there will be nice oaks and popular trees that survive, but if they get terminal wet feet, they eventually die, rot and fall over.

In Florida there are oaks that have adapted a very shallow root system so they can grow where they are.
 
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Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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Florida has many part time ponds, called 'femoral ponds' I think, where they are dry more than they have water. When we get lots of rain like has happened since last summer these ponds and all lakes fill and people have water under their docks again. Then we cycle toward a dryer spell and perhaps it goes even 15+ years of lower rain fall and these areas dry up completely. Lots of pines grow in those areas an can get up to 12" in diameter... Other species do as well but pines are the dominate trees to fill in those areas. Then we cycle back to wetter times and those trees slowly drown... As is happening now. My neighbors dock has been dry since the hurricanes of 2004. In July the lake finally came up far enough the dock has water under it. Many medium size pines are dying in the lake bed...
 
James Freyr
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

...as long as the water recedes for part of the year, the root systems can make adjustments and if they can make good adjustments the trees live, if not the trees die a slow death.



Redhawk, since you mention this, I remember fishing on the local lakes as a child, and I recall the army corp would lower the lake levels during winter and spring rains would replenish them. Perhaps is it this ebb and flow that is allowing the trees along the banks here to survive.
 
Dennis Hamilton
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Location: Crescent City, Florida
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Ok. Thanks for all the help. Also, I was told the other day that it takes differing amounts of time for trees to become established, based on the water table depth--that once it gets to the water table, it has plenty of access to water, and this is why older trees survive droughts. Is this a decent explanation?
 
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