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    Residential Rain Gardens

    Rick Durham

    Consumer Horticulture Extension SpecialistUniversity of Kentucky

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    Rain garden strategically located low areaplanted with native vegetation that interceptsrunoff and allows it to infiltrate the soil.

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    Photo Copyright 1999, Center for Watershed Protection

    Why Should We Consider Rain Gardens?

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    Run Off

    Typical run off from a city block is 9Xgreater than a wooded area of similar

    size due to pavement -substantially, but not completely

    Rain gardens promote 30% moreinfiltration than lawns

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    Flooding from 3 Rainfall

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    Rain Garden?No! Erosion and nutrient run off upstream results insiltation downstream.

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    Rain Gardens

    Increase the amount of water thatinfiltrates the soil to recharges aquifers

    Help protect community from flooding

    Help protect streams and lakes frompollutants carried in run off

    Enhance neighborhood beauty Provide wildlife habitat

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    Rain Gardens Can Be Beautiful

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    Excavation of an infiltration trench

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    Completed Infiltration Trench

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    Overflow to Storm Drain

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    Stormwater Runoff Solutions begin byreducing the amount of impermeable

    surfaces.

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    Grass Pave

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    Single FamilyResidence or Commercial Property

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    Ok, Lets Now Take a Lookat Rain Gardens

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    Getting Started

    How Big does it need to be? Where do I need to locate it?

    Soil Considerations? What Plants should we use?

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    How big do I make my raingarden ?

    Design it to handle a 1.25 inch rain event

    (this captures 80% of rainfall events) Square footage x 1.25 in. (or .104 ft) = X cu ft of water

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    60 feet30feet

    60 x 30 = 1800 sq. ft.

    1800 sq. ft. x .104 ft. of rain (1.25 in rain)=

    187 cu. Ft. of water

    Just for Fun

    187 cu. ft. of water x 7.48 = 1398 gallons

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    187 cu. Ft. of water

    10 x 12 x 1.5 feet deep = 180 cu. Ft.

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    Size of Rain Garden

    Rain Gardens can be of any size or shape

    Sandy soil, garden should be 20-30% of

    Heavy clay soils, garden should be 50-60% the size of the drain area

    Most residential rain gardens will be100-300 sq. ft.

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    Where does it need to be?

    Locate the rain garden down slope from anybuildings

    Away from large trees (easier digging) In areas that take advanta e of natural slo e. Consider the size and placement in the

    landscape design. It may be easier to createtwo separate rain gardens.

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    Excavating

    For large projects it may be easier to hire alandscaper.

    For smaller projects use the excavated soil

    to build a berm on the downhill side of the. Use a rope or water hose to layout the edge

    of the garden, use stakes and string to level.

    For deep gardens set aside the top 4-6inches of soil (topsoil), excavate the holethen use the top soil to backfill the plantingarea.

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    Soil Considerations

    Do a perk test. Dig a hole 8 inches deep and fill withwater. If it takes more than 24 hours to drain thenthe soil needs to be amended.

    On poorly drained soil excavate 10-12 inches of soil

    from hole, mix 3-6 inches of coarse sand or smallravel with excavated soil and re lace into raingarden.

    Bring 2 cups of soil to Extension Office for soil testAdd lime and fertilizer according to soil test results,3-6 inches of organic matter then till to a depth of 6

    inches. Rain garden soil mix = 50-60% sand, 20-30% top soil,20-30% compost (Rain Gardens of WesternMichigan)

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    What about mosquitoes?

    Life cycle requires 7-14 days from eggto adult

    Require standing water during juvenile

    Most rain gardens will drain within 3-4days, usually sooner

    A properly designed rain garden will notbreed mosquitoes!

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    Now the fun part Picking the

    plants Determine sun exposure

    Full sun = 6 or more hours of direct sun Part Sun to Part Shade=

    less than 6 hours of direct sun Shade = virtually no direct sun - problems

    Dont forget specific site problems Plants will need to be watered until established Weed management strategy needed for first year

    or so Choose native were possible. Drought tolerant,

    deep rooted, deer resistant?

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    Trees

    Deciduous / Evergreen

    Plant as Specimens or in Groups Consider Bark / Shape / Flowering Provide Habitats for Birds

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    Trees for Rain Gardens

    Sweetbay Magnolia Winter King

    Hawthorn Hackberr

    Red Maple River Birch Black Gum

    Fringetree Ginko

    Willow Oak Sycamore

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    River Birch

    Distinguished bybark

    50' X 50' mature size Drou ht tolerance Multi-stemmed

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    Baldcypress Drought

    Tolerance Deciduous 60' x 25' Plant as

    Specimen or inGroups

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    Red Maple

    40'-60' x 40'-60'

    Droughto erance Excellent Fall

    Color

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    Ginkgo

    25'-50' X 20'-40'

    Pest Free / Resistanceo amage Tolerates Most Soil

    Conditions

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    Ginkgo - Fruit / Leaf

    Fan Shaped

    Leaf Undesirable

    Fruit

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    Black Gum

    Nyssa sylvatica 60-80 feet Deciduous

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    Willow Oak

    Quercus phellos 40-60 ft. Hightower

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    Sweetbay Magnolia

    Magnolia virginiana 20-30 ft. Evergreen

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    Winter King Hawthorn

    Crategus virdis'Winter King

    Slow growth 15-20 ft. Deciduous Fall/winter berries

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    Hackberry

    Celtis occidentalis 80 ft. Deciduous

    .

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    Fringetree

    Chionanthusvirginicus

    Small understoryree

    deciduous

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    Shrubs for Rain Gardens

    Arrowwood Buttonbush Summersweet

    Clethra

    AmericanBeautyberry

    BottlebrushBuckeye

    Wax Myrtle Inkberry Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Sweetspire

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    Inkberry

    DroughtTolerance

    Withstands Heavy

    Pruning Adapted to

    Various SoilTypes

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    Arrow wood

    Viburnumdentatum

    8 ft tall x 6 ft. Fruit eaten by

    birds Fall color red to

    reddish purple

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    Bottlebrush Buckeye

    Aesculus parviflora 8-15 ft. Deciduous

    stalk in June

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    Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Hydrangeaquercifolia

    6 feet Deciduous Great fall color

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    Sweetspire

    Itea 4-5 feet tall and wide Great burgundy fall

    color May-June white

    fragrant flowersresembling fluffycaterpillars

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    Buttonbush

    Cephalanthusoccidentalis

    18 ft. Bees and

    butterflies Fragrant

    Dried flowersoften remainthrough winter

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    Sweet Pepperbush

    (Summer Sweet Clethra) Clethra alnifolia Blooms June-

    Jul Drought Tolerant Yellow Fall Color

    ExcellentFragrance 10 ft.

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    American Beautyberry

    6' x 6' Drought

    Tolerance Cut Back Each

    Year Berries for

    Wildlife

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    Herbaceous Plants for Rain

    Gardens Swamp Milkweed Cinnamon Fern Canna Lilies

    Asters Blackeyed Susan Lobelia

    Rushes Liriope/Mondograss

    Ironweed Joe Pye Weed St. Johns Wort

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    Asters

    Aster novae-angliaeNew England Aster

    Color:purple

    Late summer/fallflowering

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    Blackeyed Susan

    Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer Goldstrum

    flowering

    Foliage 8-12 inches

    Flowers up to 2 feet

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    Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower

    Red flowers in later summer and fall

    Cardinal Flower

    2-4 feet tall Few pests

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    Goldenrod

    SolidagoGoldenrod

    Height: cultivar dependent, 3-6 feet

    Late summer/fallflowering

    Not considered acontributor to hayfever

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    St. Johns Wort

    Hypericum spp. 200 species

    Ground cover tomedium shrub

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    Swamp Milkweed

    Asclepias incarnata Summer flowers Butterflies

    aphids

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    Ironweed

    Vernonianoveboracensis

    Flowers mid to late

    summer Height to 6 feet Butterflies

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    Liriope

    Great Border Ground Cover

    Grows in Moistreas Easy to Grow Increase by

    Division

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    Cinnamon Fern

    Osmundacinnamomea

    Deciduous

    2-5 feet ht.

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    Joe Pye Weed

    Eupatorium Late Summer

    Flowers Tall Robust Plant Flower heads

    attractive after plant dries in fall

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    Miscanthus sinensis Silver Grass

    Grasses

    Pennisetum alopecuroides Fountain Grass

    Phalaris arundinaceae Ribbon Grass

    Festuca cinerea Silver Fescue

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    Rushes and Sedges

    Juncus and Carex Grass-like Tolerant of wet sites

    well

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    Planting Trees and Shrubs

    When planting individual plants, dig the hole2-times wider than the root ball.When planting a group of plants, cultivate

    the planting area to a 12-inch depth. Do not add amendments to individualplanting holes. Instead, incorporateamendments uniformly into the top 12

    inches of the soil.Remove the wire or cord from around thestem of B&B plants.

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    Planting Trees and Shrubs

    Slice or break apart the root ball of pot-bound container-grown plants.Install guy wires on trees, if necessary,

    but remove them after establishment.A water saucer may be used to helpdirect water to the roots, but it is onlytemporary.Mulch.Water to settle soil.

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    If a water saucer is used, rake it outward andaway from the planting hole. Smooth saucer 2 to 3months after planting to keep it from eroding over

    the roots

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    Planting herbaceous plants

    Plant in waves rather than as single plants Consider height and period/color of bloom Plant no deeper than previously growing

    Provide 1 water per week until established Prune back vegetation prior to regrowth in

    spring

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    Mulch

    A minimum of 2 needed, not more than 4 Keeps weeds down

    Acts as sponge to capture heavy metals,oils and grease Holds moisture Maintains even temperature

    Shredded hardwood mulch or pine strawrecommended

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    Pondering Points

    The planting plan design shouldinclude species that tolerate extremes.

    a natural wild condition.

    Native plants are best adapted to localclimate and once established aregenerally low maintenance.

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    Pondering Points

    (continued) When planted with native species rain

    gardens can have additional value as a.

    Shrub, trees, and ground covers absorbup to 14 times more rainwater than a

    grass lawn.

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    Maintenance?

    No special maintenance required onceestablished

    ou ne per o c an scap ngmaintenance

    Weeding

    Irrigation Pruning/vegetation removal

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    For more information: Rain Gardens of Western Michigan

    http://www.raingardens.org/Index.php Rain Gardens Gardening with water quality in

    mind. http://www.mninter.net/~stack/rain/ Rain ardens infiltratin Wisconsin

    http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/nps/rg/

    Credits: Residential Rain Gardens. Todd Hurt, UGA/

    Cherokee Co. Extension. Milti-state Master Gardener Educator Training: Landscape Water QualityWorkshop, Griffin, GA. 2004.