Native shorelines provide critical habitat for wildlife while intercepting and filtering stormwater runoff. Adding trees to native shorelines increases the ecological benefits exponentially.

How can trees help my shoreline?

Trees are a critical part of supporting a healthy shoreline. Allowing trees to grow to maturity along the shoreline allows for deep roots to take hold. Deep roots create shoreline and slope stability and prevent erosion, –  a common concern for residents within our watershed. Additionally, deep root systems create “pores” within the soil that allow water to infiltrate more effectively. A single deciduous tree’s canopy can intercept up to 750 gallons of rainwater; evergreen trees can intercept up to 4,000 gallons of water annually! Trees also offer food and shelter for  wildlife, including birds and pollinators. Tree canopies that reach over the water’s surface offer shade which allows for cooler spots for fish and other wildlife. Downed woody debris in the water offers certain fish critical breeding habitat that is often lacking when trees are not present along the shore.

Certain trees are better than others at surviving  on wet shorelines. When considering what species of tree to plant, consider if the tree is native, what habitat it can tolerate, if they are prone to disease or pests (Dutch Elm or Disease or Emerald Ash Borer), and will it add diversity to the ecosystem. Planting a variety of species is important to prevent disease spread and to offer the greatest diversity to wildlife. Black Willow (Salix nigra), Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), River Birch (Betula nigra), and Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) are all good options for wet shoreline conditions. The Chisago Soil and Water Conservation District and the Washington Conservation District offer spring tree sales with reduced  cost trees for residents and offer resources for planting and maintenance tips.

If you have questions about what tree is right for your yard, contact our office for assistance!

Topic Contact

Aidan Read

Land Management Specialist

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