Finding the correct tree for wet soil conditions can be a challenge and could cause more problems than you might expect. There are very few trees which enjoy aquatic conditions, especially with the weather circumstances that the UK experienced in February 2024.

Luckily there are several tree species which can cope in wet soil, and waterlogged sites, with little to no complaints.

Wet Soil for Trees in February

During February 2024 within our tree nursery our main growing field recorded a total of 173mm, or 6.8 inches, of rainfall. This figure is nearly three times the average recorded over the last 25 years for the same period and went on record as the fourth consecutive record-breaking rainfall month.

What we experienced in Hampshire was reflected throughout much of the UK and impacted more than just the country’s travel network. Alongside tree nurseries, landscape and construction sites of our customers were affected by the adverse weather conditions.

This raises a concerning question: are the February weather conditions we experienced the new normal?

There is a possibility that this could be the case, and if it is we need to ensure that the trees we are all planting will survive and hopefully thrive in wet soil conditions.

Top 5 Trees for Wet Soil

As previously mentioned, most trees dislike waterlogged conditions, and those that don’t might not necessarily survive the UK climate. We have curated a list of our top five tree recommendations for wet soil and waterlogged conditions, some of which you might not immediately associate with such environments.

Ulmus New Horizon elm trees growing in rows in field

1.    Ulmus ‘New Horizon’

The Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ is a hardy plant with complete resistance to the Dutch Elm Disease (DED). As the tree matures it forms an appealing and rounded canopy adorned with vibrant green leaves, growing to around 14 metres high.

This tree has previously established in the harshest of urban conditions and its hardiness is proven to withstand floods, droughts, poor soils, salt laden winds, and high levels of pollution.

Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ is also a great choice for wildlife, even being considered home to the rare white letter hairstreak butterfly which was previously struggling in the UK.

Acer rubrum October Glory trees in autumn colour in field

2.    Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’

Acer rubrum “October Glory” provides an outstanding display in the autumnal months that very few other trees can rival. The exceptional autumn leaf colour turns later than other maples but produces the most fantastic display of candy apple reds, saffron, and golden yellows. This beautiful and colourful canopy grows to a height of around 15 metres in height.

The hardy tree is best in slightly acidic soils and will tolerate wet soil. Unfortunately, the Acer rubrum “October Glory” suffers with a poor resilience to coastal winds and chalky conditions.

Alnus glutinosa catkins

3.    Alnus glutinosa

The Alnus glutinosa is a native tree to the UK that excels within difficult locations. This tree is extremely hardy and can tolerate some of the poorest soil conditions.

Wet soils allow the tree to thrive, and it does particularly well within clay soils that can often see extended periods of remaining waterlogged.

The Alnus glutinosa grows to a height of around 16 metres high and offers a great home for wildlife. The Alnus glutinosa ‘Laciniata’ has a lower total height at 12 metres but is tolerant to pollution and urban environments.

Liquidambar styraciflua Worpledon at Andlers Ash Nursery

4.    Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

The erratic climate of the UK suits the Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ incredibly well. This tree is very tolerant to the cold and excessive amounts water, suiting wet soil areas.

The canopy reaches a height of around 14 metres and makes an ideal solitary feature that enjoys centre stage. Adding Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ as part of an avenue can help welcome the colours of the colder months with a choir of autumnal magnificence.

Crategus persimilis Prunifolia green leaves and red berries

5.    Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’

If you’re seeking a tree that thrives in partial shade to full sun whilst having resistance to wet soils then the Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ may be an ideal choice. This tree is a good contender for various soil types, including that of clay and loam.

Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ offers a wonderful range of autumnal colours which is paired with white blossoms in the spring months for colour all year long.

Would you like more information on trees that thrive within wet soils, or want to talk more about any of the trees discussed here today? Contact our expert tree team who can help you with all your queries and the ordering process.


Nate Haughton

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