Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Planting Tips and Species Recommendations

Q: Can I plant trees to help control flooding?

Monday, March 07, 2016  

Q: I moved to Mississippi, and after it rains, my yard gets flooded from runoff from the surrounding area. Would it help to plant trees or other plantings to help control the flooding? A shallow ditch runs across the front and side of the yard. I really need help keeping water at bay from the house.

A: The scenario reported is common in many urban/suburban sites across America. Trees do not alter the soil moisture, they tolerate it. No tree will "suck up" your drainage problems. In fact, trees often inhibit the movement of surface water and soil desiccation rates. Managing urban water is about handling flow sources and channels--it needs a physical solution, not a botanical one.

 Responder: Jeffrey Ling, RCA #337, Forte Wayne, IN