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List of Trees That Help to Prevent Floods

A botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Trees to Help Prevent Flooding

Trees to Help Prevent Flooding

Floods occur when heavy rainfalls occur in low-lying areas without proper drainage systems. Floods can also occur when rivers and lakes overflow due to heavy rain or when a dam breaks down.

Flash floods occur within a few hours after heavy rainfall. In these types of floods, places are flooded in a matter of seconds.

Flash floods occur primarily due to slow-moving thunderstorms. They can be very dangerous in narrow canyons and valleys. In such places, the rainwater rushes down, rapidly flooding the area.

How Trees Help to Prevent Floods

The roots of the trees penetrate deep into the soil. As the roots grow deep into the ground, they loosen the soil and create many empty spaces between the soil particles. When there is heavy rainfall, the rainwater runs down into these spaces created by the roots. Due to this, rainwater does not flood the area.

The tree canopies break the water flow and slow down the speed at which rainwater reaches the ground. This gives enough time for the rainwater to seep into the soil and prevent the rise of the water level.

The extensive root system of trees absorbs huge quantities of rainwater, thereby preventing floods.

The roots of trees hold the topsoil together and prevent soil chunks from blocking the rivers and streams. This helps rainwater to flow continuously and prevents flooding of nearby areas.

Weeping Willow

Weeping Willow

Weeping Willows

Weeping Willows (Salix babylonica) are attractive, ornamental trees planted in parks, near rivers and ponds. They can grow up to 50 meters and have a width of 40 feet. Weeping Willows have drooping branches with small narrow leaves.

The Weeping Willow is too large to be planted in a garden. The root system of this tree grows two to three times the diameter of the tree canopy. The extensive root system helps absorb large amounts of rainwater and prevents flooding.

Weeping Willows should be planted in wet soil areas and away from buildings. The roots of the Weeping Willows penetrate deep into the soil and have extensive growth. The extensive root system of these trees can cause buildings to crack and block underground pipes.

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer. These trees can grow up to 80 feet and have a diameter of 30 feet. It grows well in moist, well-drained soils and dry soils. They are seen growing at the edge of water bodies with their roots partially submerged in water. Their root system can absorb large volumes of water during rainfall and prevent flooding.

Bald Cypress trees growing in swamps have unique projections near their base called “cypress knees.” The “cypress knees” support the Bald Cypress tree and root the tree firmly to the ground.

The Bald Cypress trees are known to survive strong winds and hurricanes. Their extensive root system prevents soil erosion and slows rapidly flowing water's speed.

Birch Trees

Birch Trees

River Birch Tree

The River Birch Tree (Betula nigra), also known as red birch, black birch, or water birch, grows in thickets on the river and lakeshores. It also grows well in floodplains and sandy areas.

The River Birch is a deciduous tree with a height range of 50 to 90 feet. This tree grows well in moist soils and can tolerate extremely wet soil conditions. River Birch trees help to control soil erosion and to reclaim areas with highly acidic soil.

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The roots of the Birch Tree rapidly grow and branch out, seeking water sources. The extensive root networking of the Birch Trees helps to prevent soil erosion and prevent flooding of nearby areas. The River Birch Trees should not be planted near buildings, water, or drainage pipes because the growth of the strong roots will penetrate, weaken and break these structures.

Riparian Habitat River Tributary to Lake Erie

Riparian Habitat River Tributary to Lake Erie

Box Elder Tree

The Box Elder Tree (Acer negundo) is a species native to North America. Box Elder is also known as Boxelder Maple or Maple Ash. The Box Elder tree grows to 33 – 82 feet tall and has a trunk diameter of 12 – 20 inches. These trees usually have several trunks and form dense thickets.

The Box Elder trees grow well in flood plains and areas with plenty of water supply. In addition, these trees grow well in “riparian habitats.” Riparian habitats are plant habitats found along river margins and river banks.

The Box Elder trees found near rivers and streams help control floods by absorbing the excess runoff rainwater and preventing the nearby areas from flooding.

More Trees That Help To Prevent Flooding

Common NameBotanical Name

Silver Maple

Abrus rubrum

Common Alder

Alnus glutinosa

America hornbeam

Carpinus caroliniana


Carya illinoensis

Fringe Tree

Chionanthus virginicus

Deciduous holly

Ilex decuda

Cherry bark oak

Quercus falcata

American Elm

Ulmus americana

Swamp Chestnut Oak

Quercus bicolor

Sweetbay Magnolia

Magnolia virginiana

American Holly

Ilex opaca

Loblolly Pine

Pinus taeda


United States Environmental Protection Agency

Arbor Day Foundation

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Nithya Venkat


Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on July 16, 2015:

Daisy am glad you enjoyed. Thank you for stopping by.

BeatsMe trees do a great deal to prevent floods. Thank you for stopping by.

BeatsMe on July 06, 2015:

I have always thought that trees had helped a lot in the past to prevent floods in our area. Even though we don't have trees like the ones in your hub. :)

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on July 06, 2015:

Nithya (Vellur),

I enjoy reading Hubs in which I learn something new. Thank you for publishing this very important article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on November 10, 2014:

nonaweeks it is sad that you lost a customer. Great that they are trying to prevent floods. It is really sad to see trees being cut down without a second thought. Thank you for your visit.

Nona Weeks from Florissant, CO on November 10, 2014:

I have learned first hand how important trees are to help prevent flooding. I live in Colorado, US. We had two major fires a couple of years ago, then last year we had a lot of floods due to the loss of hundreds of acres of trees. I even lost a customer from my place of employment due to him being caught in a flash flood. The are now doing irrigation and trying to help prevent floods in those areas. Terrible tragedy, but it taught me the importance of preventing fires and the importance of the trees in the area.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 22, 2014:

aesta1 I really hope the birch trees survive, thank you for stopping by.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 22, 2014:

We have birch trees in our lakeside place but several are dying. I hope the others continue to lie and protect us from the flooding.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 15, 2014:

ChitrangadaSharan thank you for stopping by. Thanks for the vote and share.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 15, 2014:

Very nice, informative and useful hub!

So important to plant trees and that too, which can hold the soil better.

Voted up and sharing on HH!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on March 16, 2014:

Anita lesic thank you.

Dream Lover from Zagreb on March 15, 2014:

very useful information ;)

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 08, 2014:

Audrey thank you and yes birch trees are great.

Audrey Howitt from California on February 08, 2014:

Very interesting hub! I love birch trees and they don't grow near me--

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 26, 2014:

Gypsy Rose Lee thank you for your visit. Thanks for sharing too.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 26, 2014:

Interesting and informative hub. I love trees of all kinds and weeping willows are among my favorites. Thanks for sharing. Passing this on.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 25, 2014:

Nell Rose it does make sense given that weeping willows really take in lot of water and their roots grow towards sources of water. Thank you for the vote up and share.

tillsontitan thank you, trees help a great deal to prevent floods. Thank you for the many votes.

WiccanSage thank you cutting down trees will be detrimental to the environment and destroy ecosystems. Thank you for stopping by.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on January 23, 2014:

Useful information-- I live in a community so I have no control over the trees because they do the landscaping; but I read about how the logging of trees has contributed about a lot of flooding and mudslides, and I can't believe it can still be legal to do in flood-prone areas. I am a fan of weeping willows-- they are so beautiful. Great hub.

Mary Craig from New York on January 23, 2014:

In this time of so much flooding and destruction from rain this article couldn't be more useful. Where would we be without trees?

This was a great idea for a hub Vellur and contains so much interesting information.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Nell Rose from England on January 23, 2014:

Great information Vellur, and it actually makes sense on something I learned only the other day. I live inland, but near a river, but even that is at least half a mile away, and there is a weeping willow tree outside our block of houses. And then someone told me that years ago this area was in fact next to a lake! how about that? wonderful hub, voted up and shared, nell

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 13, 2014:

MariteCoetser yes, so true. Trees are our best friends, thank you for stopping by.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on January 12, 2014:

Trees also produce oxygen and so many products needed by humans, so they are mankind's best friend.

Important information about trees, thank you, vellur :)

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 08, 2014:

midget38 thank God for trees, thank you for stopping by.

always exploring tress help in preventing floods. There are trees that you can plant in the garden and there are grasses that will keep the soil around the house dry.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 08, 2014:

Interesting hub Vellur. We have been having some serious flooding here. We had 8 inches of rain. Thank goodness for trees. I was unaware. Thank you for sharing...

Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 08, 2014:

Good erosion preventers they are.Thanks for sharing, Nithya, and I am too!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 07, 2014:

DDE thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Eiddwen thank you for stopping by.

Eiddwen from Wales on January 07, 2014:

Interesting and so very useful


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 07, 2014:

Informative, useful and most helpful indeed. A well-advised hub and presented with lovely photos.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 06, 2014:

srsddn thank you, we must save planet earth for our future generations.

billybuc thank you for stopping by, clear-cutting causes a lot of damage to the environment.

Jackie Lynnley thank you for stopping by. Cypress trees are gorgeous and grow fast in wet soil.

Faith Reaper thank you, great that you want to plant more trees. Thank you for the vote up and share.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 06, 2014:

Great hub full of interesting information! I am terrified of rising water or flash flooding, and good to know about the trees! I need to plant more of them for sure.

Up and more and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 06, 2014:

Yes I know about trees and those weeping willows are just great at drinking up that water, but they have tiny little bugs, so if it is near your house may want to consider things like that. Oh those gorgeous! I love planting trees and if you put one in a wet spot it will grow really fast! Great info!! ^

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 06, 2014:

This is a very important article. It helps explain why clear-cutting causes so much damage....nice research and well-written.

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on January 06, 2014:

vellur, very useful information. I think we should plant trees for our future generations. The variety of trees suggested by you is really interesting. The short video is quite thought-provoking.

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