Louisiana has tens of thousands of square miles of swamps and marshes. Have you ever wondered what the difference between a swamp and a marsh is? Today, we will take a closer look at both and explain how you can distinguish the two:
A swamp is an area of land permanently saturated, or filled, with water. The waterlogged dirt is high in nutrient content. The plants that make up the area are covered in water. Swamps are dominated by trees such as cypress, cedar, or mangrove trees. Trees like the cypress and some varieties of maple and oak can survive in these wet areas that would rot the roots of other trees. Swamps can also have scrubs including the button-bush. Swamps are fed by groundwater or surface water. There are two types of swamps: saltwater swamps and freshwater swamps.
A Marsh is a wetland or an area of land where the ground is covered by water for a long period of time. A marsh is a type of wetland where herbaceous plants are the dominant vegetation. A herbaceous plant is a plant that does not have any woody stems above the ground. Marshes are nutrient-rich wetlands which support a variety of reeds and grasses. The roots of the plant bind to the muddy soil and the slow water flow allows the plants to spread out across the marsh. Many marshes are freshwater and exist in areas with poor drainage—along streambeds, lakes, and ponds. Since soil is constantly wet from flooding, marshes are extremely nutrient-rich and can support a wide variety of plant and animal life. Marshes can also be tidal, according to experts. Saltwater marshes are saturated every time the tide comes in from the ocean. There are some marshes that are fed by groundwater. Marshes also get saturated from rain water.
As you can see a marsh and a swamp are not the same. The vegetation that grows in each is the main difference. A swamp is filled with trees while a marsh does not normally have trees but is filled with grasses and other herbaceous plants. Marshes are typically not as deep as swamps as well.