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Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

Posted by sujiwan 6 MD (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 26, 09 at 21:09

I have been struggling to find which shrubs can handle a high spring water table which reverts to very dry conditions during the rest of the growing season. Apparently there is a rock strata about 5-6 feet down that "swells shut" during the late winter, spring rainy period making the ground pretty soppy but later the water percolates down and away. The surface gets quite hard packed as the spring wears on into summer.

I wanted to put in a shrub border (for birds/bees mostly) punctuated by small flowering trees but have had limited success. What has worked so far are cotoneaster, winterberry, and viburnum opulus- possibly clove currant. What bombed were lilacs and nannyberry. At the lower end (slightly moister) of the gently sloped yard I have elderberries, aronia and hazelnuts doing well near my young spruces.

What other options are there for this waterload feast/famine soil conditions in my midatlantic zone 6?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

Aronia's do well in those conditions that you listed...but you have those so here are some new choices.

Amelanchier, butterfly bush and dogwoods (most).

Yes, Lilacs hate wet soil.

RE: Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

I would never have guessed butterfly bush seeing as that grows in dry rubble. Don't dogwoods need "understory" conditions? This area is open to the sun (and wind)--no shade, soil slightly acid.

RE: Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

Some dogwoods need understory conditions...for example Pagoda Dogwood.

I have Ivory Halos in full sun, out in the wide open...they get 12-14 hours of sun.

They get flooded in sring as all the water is pitched over there, but during drought it gets REALLY dry since its fully exposed.

There are varous small serviceberry you can use as well (Regent is one)

RE: Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

Shrub dogwoods - Cornus sericea or Cornus alba - are an excellent choice for this type of situation.

RE: Shrubs for wet, then dry locations

I have a redbud in that type of area that does well. Also clethra, willow hakuri nishiki (sp), groundcover forsythia Gold Tide, rhus lo-gro, witchhazel, winterberry, servicebery, fringe tree. This area is so wet early on that I cannot walk in it without sinking.

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