Our property contains an area that is perhaps 2 acres of rich soil that is quite wet at all times--borderline marshy in the spring, and never quite fully drying. It's surrounded by higher rocky outcroppings that likely seep moisture and drain to a small creek / wetland with this area of land in between.

I'd like to plant some native fruit, berry, or nut plants in the area--for personal harvest as well as for wildlife, but am unsure what types of plants might do well.

We're located in New England, hardiness zone of 5a (bordering 4b) and the state's survey cites the soil type as "Farmington extremely rocky loam, 5 to 20 percent slopes - FaC".

The land is on a slight slope (the lower end of that 5 to 20 percent range), receives moderate sun, and has wet but rich soil. It was fairly thick with invasive honeysuckle and has some sumac.

What types of New England fruits, berries, or nuts might do well in this wet, somewhat marshy area?

  • How about some companion planting of some shrubs that will soak up water, such as pussy willow? Another idea: create some swales, and plant your trees in between the swales (low parts). The soil might benefit from some amendments -- is it kind of clayey and low on organic matter? Maybe adding sand would help. I wonder if there's a spring, or if the water table is high in that area. Commented May 20, 2022 at 4:19

1 Answer 1


Cranberries and blueberries (lowbush type) come immediately to mind. "Moderate sun" is not ideal (the more, the better.) Belated edit: Bayberries, (alternate link) not that they are considered edible, other than by wildife, but they smell nice and you can gather them to get the wax. May spread enough to become a weed by suckering, though.

Depending somewhat on "just how wet is it?" raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries might make it, or not.

If currants are not interdicted, or at least those that are White Pine Blister Rust resistant/proof by breeding are not interdicted, I have some currants growing in small hummocks (bumps, tiny hills - not quite as wet, but surrounded by wet) in a boggy spot that seem to do fine.

  • The blueberry idea sounds good. Maybe experiment with fruit that grows like a weed -- gooseberries would be an example. Commented May 20, 2022 at 4:22
  • Gooseberries (at least what we usually mean by that around here - I happen to be growing some "Cape Gooseberries" this year which are more of a tomatillo relative Physalis) also fall under any Ribes restrictions for White Pine Blister Rust.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 12:35
  • britannica.com/plant/gooseberry - not sure if it's what you're talking about. It's not something I would want to grow in large quantities -- but hopefully it's a start. Commented May 20, 2022 at 14:54

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