Planting with a high water table?

tjmjr(7)April 2, 2013

FYI: I'm a total gardening newbie, so I don't really know what I'm doing.

I live in an area where the water table is high and everyone's sump pumps go off all day, no matter the weather. I also suspect that I might have a small stream underground in one portion of my yard since both of the sump pumps on that side of the house go off about every 30 minutes, even if it hasn't rained for many weeks. Also if you shoot a straight line from the stream that surfaces 3 blocks away from my house, it goes right through the wet portion of my yard.I don't get standing water in my yard, as there is at least a decent grade that carries to towards the street.

My yard isn't very large, and I would like to plant something that is tolerant of wet soil. The area that has the most water is long and narrow, and is between my drive way and my house. The area is about 15' wide and about 60' long. There is one mature holly tree smack dab in the middle that's about 8' across. This portion of my yard gets full sun from about an hour after sunrise, to about two or so hours before sunset.

I would like to hear some suggestions from the green thumbs around here for some things I could plant in this area that would do well in this type of environment. I wouldn't want anything with too pervasive of a root system since it will be relatively close to my house, and not far from the water line in the front of the house.

Also, has anyone with busy sump pumps developed a system of reclaiming some of the pumped out water to be used for watering other areas of the yard?

Thank you for any suggestions that you may have!


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You don't say whether the damp is sunny or shady. We have a similar problem in a rather shady sandy area and we are looking at stream side plantings, such as river birch, serviceberry, ferns, iris, etc. You should check out, chesapeake bay foundation, and Maryland native plants. Just google them and see what you come up with, but look for plants that like a lot of water sometimes. All the rainscaping sites will have lists.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:06PM
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I second the suggestion for native wet-feet plants. Also google rain gardens.

We started digging a French drain for the sump pump outflow, got as far as a big hole that the sump pump pumped into, became distracted, became undistracted, realized that dragonflies, birds, and the occasional frog were using the big hole, and finished it as a pond. I planted native (mostly) wet-feet plants around it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Thanks for the info! That part of the yard gets direct sun for between a half and a third of the day, so from about 4 to 6 hours in the middle of the day. We were also looking at maybe a couple of pear trees and maybe a blueberry bush, as I've been told by people that they do pretty well in moister soil.

We're pretty much open to anything that doesn't become a huge ordeal to maintain. We have time to work in the garden, but right now it's not something we want too spend every weekend doing.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Thanks to both of you for the suggestions! That site looks to be a great place to get started.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:42PM
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