There’s a great Bugs Bunny cartoon in which his antagonist, a highway construction worker, gets flattened by an elevator. As the construction worker steps out of the elevator shaft, he remarks, “I’m feeling mighty low.”

Sweetbay Magnolia flower

Grow sweetbay magnolia for its creamy-white flowers and heavenly scent.

Photo Credit: Lane Greer

Sycamore bark

One of the best qualities of sycamore is its bark, which peels off to reveal gray, white and reddish-brown hues.

Photo Credit: Lane Greer

Weeping Willow

Plant weeping willows beside a lake and enjoy them twice – in reality and in their reflection.

Photo Credit: Lane Greer

Bald Cypress

Plant baldcypress in full sun.

Photo Credit: Lane Greer

There may be some mighty low spots in your yard, too – places that tend to hold onto water after every rain. At my house, there’s an underground spring that runs just at the edge of my property, and I’m tired of getting the lawn mower stuck there every week during the summer. Isn’t there something better to use than grass?!

Actually, yes. There are several trees that grow very well in these low, wet spots:

Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana; hardy in zones 5-9). A US native, sweetbay magnolia is a shrubby tree, evergreen in the Deep South but deciduous farther north. It grows quickly up to about 15 feet in the North, but reaches 50 feet in the South. The tree’s flowers are the same creamy-white as those of Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and have the same wonderful lemony fragrance, but sweetbay’s flowers are much smaller. Sweetbay will grow in full sun or part shade.

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis; hardy in zones 4-9). Our native sycamore is valued for its peeling bark, showing patches of gray, white and reddish-brown. Its leaves are very large – a perennial favorite among children – and the fruits are fuzzy, dull yellow globes that drop in autumn. (Most sycamores don’t produce a lot of fruit, so don’t worry about this being a messy tree.) The tree grows very tall – up to 75 feet if conditions are right.

Sycamores are native to the Southeastern US, but there are many Platanus species that are grown around the world. I saw lots of London plane trees (Platanus × hispanica) in – you guessed it! – London. Sycamores grow best in full sun but can take some shade. In their native habitat, they typically grow along stream banks.

Weeping willow (Salix babylonica; hardy in zones 5-8). No other tree has the presence of a weeping willow. The long, hanging branches are yellow in winter and are covered with narrow leaves in summer. These trees also produce fluffy, white seed in summer. Grow weeping willow in full sun, where it will ultimately reach about 30 feet tall and wide.

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum; hardy in zones 4-11). Another US native, baldcypress thrives not only in moist places, but in plain water. Although the tree is a conifer (cone-bearing), it drops its leaves – or needles – in winter. The small, green cones are round and bumpy, as if covered with secret Braille messages. If the tree is growing in water or a really wet yard, it produces root outgrowths called knees, which can grow up to a foot tall. Baldcypress grows 50 feet tall and should be placed in full sun.

Plant one of these trees in a wet area, and they will leave you feeling anything but low!