I have an area in my lawn where grass just does not persist. Our
lawn service says that it is too wet for grass because of the
numerous springs in our area. I got some bids on what it would take
to correct the drainage, but would prefer a less expensive option.
Are there any plants that would thrive in area like that? It stays
moist most of the year, unless we get into an extended drought.
Water only stands on the surface when we get really hard rain. The
soil underneath stays moist, though, almost all the time. It gets
sun much of the day. I am not really a gardener, so I would prefer
plants that I don’t have to fuss over too much, but that would still
be reasonably attractive.
There are interesting, attractive plants that fulfill most of your
requirements, but all plants should have some level of maintenance
to remain attractive. At minimum, you should monitor new plantings
for the first year or two to make sure they have a chance to become
well established and prune them every few years.
Since you do not indicate a size limit, I will focus on medium and
small shrubs and trees, along with a few perennial flowering plants
that would grow happily in your problem area. Trees and shrubs
generally require less maintenance than flowering plants.
Although young trees should be pruned to create an attractive,
strong framework of branches, more mature trees rarely require more
than removal of deadwood or the occasional branch growing out of
scale with the rest of the plant as they as they were properly
chosen for the site. Shrubs require periodic pruning to encourage
the growth of young, productive stems that will bloom more or have
more colorful winter stems than older stems.
Soil Test First
Be sure to start with a
soil test so that you at least know the soil
pH. Many of the plants listed below prefer an acid soil with pH 5.0
– 6.0. Check the brief bibliography following the plant list so you
can learn more about individual plants and see pictures of them.
River Birch (Betula nigra, especially ‘Heritage’)
Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)
Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Silky Dogwood (Cornus amour)
Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
Dwarf Blue Arctic Willow (Salix purpurea)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Snowberry/Coralberry (Symphoricarpos spp.)
Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
American Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp.)
Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus augustifolius)
Japanese Iris (Iris ensata (I. kaempferi)
Sweet Iris (Iris pallida)
Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)
Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)
Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)
New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
Allan M., Herbaceous Perennial Plants, Stipes Publishing,
M., Armitage’s Garden Perennials, Timber Press, 2000.
The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses, Timber Press,
A., Dirr’s Hardy Trees, Timber Press, Portland, OR, 1997.
A., Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Stipes Publishing,