Seasonal Maintenance Guide for BMPS
Here are some basic maintenance tips for your raingarden or shoreline planting throughout the year, however, if you ever need additional help don't hesitate to call us! We have water resource professionals who are available to help you problem solve erosion problems, answer questions with Weed ID and suggest plant replacements. Call Jenn at 651-330-8220 x44 and she will put you in touch with technical support as soon as possible. Help is available if your raingarden is a few months old or a few years old!
It seems like winter will finally be over! As the days lengthen and the snow begins to melt the time has come to stop dreaming and start creating a beautiful summer gardens! Before then, however, spring weather can make a mess of your lawns, walkways and parking lots as well as our local waterways. Here are a few tips for getting your landscape back in shape and keeping our local lakes and rivers clean:
- Plan a spring clean-up day with your congregation to help you with these tasks!
- Avoid putting any permanent structures in flood prone areas of your yard or open spaces and try to keep those areas clear during the spring. Melting snow and spring storms can create standing water and voluntary streams that wash loose dirt and debris out of your yard and into creeks and roadside ditches where they are carried into local streams and lakes.
- Take a moment to keep your Spring runoff clean:
- What's accumulated under the snow over the winter can be surprising at times - remove any trash from streets, sidewalks and driveways and put it into the garbage.
- Clean gutters regularly. Put any remaining leaves in your compost pile or bag for collection with other yard trimmings.
- Sweep up road dirt that has accumulated over the winter and place it in the garbage.
- Direct water from your downspouts away from your church and paved surfaces and onto vegetated areas/raingardens.
- If you have a raingarden:
- After you've tidied up sidewalks and gutters, clean out and remove dirt and debris from the inlets to your raingarden(s). Remove any remaining leaves and debris from the garden itself.
- Inspect edging for damage. The freeze-thaw cycle may have lifted part of the edging up; to remedy this simply remove a few inches of soil underneath it and reinstall. Keep the edging flush with surrounding grass the prevent damage from moving and allow water to enter the garden.
- Check for any erosion - you may need to regrade or install a small retaining wall.
- Springtime is a good time to add more mulch- you want 2-3in of a hardwood mulch (make sure the mulch won't float!). Mulch helps maintain soil moisture, protect plants and prevents weed growth.
- If your raingarden is well established some perennials will grow large and become crowded. Early spring is the best time to divide perennials (before they are 4in tall). To divide them, dig up the whole plant with a spade, cut the plant into sections with the roots still attached, and replant.
- Check for empty spaces in your garden, and consult your original design plant to see what's missing and consider why a certain plant may not have thrived. Too wet, too dry, too sunny or shady? You can fill in empty spots with divided perennials or add new plants.
- If you have any porous pavement: Depending on recommendations from your contractor and your specific maintenance schedule, you might need to have the surface vacuumed with a regenerative air sweeper.
- Encourage others to plant a raingarden or native shoreline! The roots of turf grass extend only two to three inches into the soil, giving it little ability to hang on when the water flows. Native flowers and grasses, on the other hand, can have root systems four to twelve feet deep! These deep roots anchor the plants and keep soil from washing away. They also increase the amount of water the soil can absorb, meaning that more water sinks in to recharge groundwater aquifers and less ends up in the storm drain. A shoreline or stream bank planted in trees and native plants will hold the soil steady when it rains. Buffers also catch and filter many of the pollutants found in melting snow and stormwater runoff. For information about native plants, raingardens and shoreline stabilization, visit www.BlueThumb.org.
Winter is a time of rest for our plants and gardens, but the snow that falls brings with it a lot of work nonetheless. These two videos below go over the best tools you can use to keep surfaces safe in the winter, what deicers work under different winter conditions and how we should be using them. In addition they will discuss what deicers and sand do to our lakes, streams and groundwater. If you care about the health of our waters, find out what you can do to minimize your impact on the environment as you manage snow and ice on your property and keep people safe.
As a general rule of thumb, if there is leftover salt after the snow melts too much was used. Sweep up any extra and throw it in the trash.