Kelly Feehan - Extension Educator
Rain gardens have been a landscape feature for a while now. This has helped us determine which plants are proving to do well in the bottom of rain gardens.
Rain gardens are shallow depressions located where they collect rainwater from a slope or downspout. Their purpose is to make the most of rainfall when received by soaking it in and reducing the amount of runoff during rain storms.
During winter, dry landscape plants that are not covered by snow or moistened by winter moisture could pose a potential fire hazard. This is especially true following dry summers and falls.
The dry tops of ornamental grasses left over winter. Dead conifers killed by insects or diseases. Dry tree leaves accumulating in yard corners and more. These could all become tinder and fuel for a carelessly discarded cigarette or possibly an electrical short.
Soils with good structure and those that not compacted help expand root systems. Roots hold soil in place to reduce erosion, a leading cause of water pollution. Soils that are not compacted allow for increased infiltration of rain and irrigation water.
Soil management is important to healthy plants and healthy ecosystems. Following are a few tips for improving residential landscape and garden soils and why it is important for root systems and plant health.
When planning gardens, people may think about pollinators and select plants to benefit them. Another trend is using rain gardens to catch and hold rainwater. Water and pollinator conservation are two goals achieved with rain gardens.
Rain gardens reduce irrigation needs and can decrease the amount of rainwater running off of a property and carrying pollutants to surface water. Rainwater is a valuable resource. Consider collecting some of it with a rain garden that is filled with plants to benefit pollinators.
There is still time to plant shade trees this fall, but know that fertilization and the addition of root stimulant products have been shown to have little or no effect on how quickly a tree establishes.
However, the unnecessary use of these products could lead to an increase in nutrients in surface water that can impair water ecosystems. Fertilizer and root stimulant products are not recommended unless a soil test indicates they are needed.