As awareness rises in our community about the effects of storm water pollutants on our lakes and rivers, an increasing number of Scott County residents have installed raingardens in their yards.
Raingardens capture storm water runoff from roofs, driveways and sidewalks so it can infiltrate into the ground instead of eroding the landscape and picking up pollutants before rushing into local water bodies. Raingardens are planted with native plants, which are hardy to Minnesota, and have long roots that create channels for storm water to infiltrate.
Installing a raingarden is a great way to do your part for water quality, but like any garden, there is some maintenance involved. If you have already put in your raingarden or are thinking about it for next spring, here are a few maintenance reminders to keep your raingarden looking good and functioning to its full capacity for years to come.
Weeding: The majority of raingarden maintenance is the weeding, which should not be a surprise to anyone who has gardened before. Luckily, double-shredded hardwood mulch works great in raingardens to suppress most of the weeds. The first few years of the raingarden require the most weeding while the native plants become established. Some weeding is necessary in future years, but the native plants will fill in the empty space where weeds tend to grow and will be large enough to shade out many small weeds.
Maintaining the Edging: To ensure your raingarden continues to function as designed, keep the edge of the garden defined. You can do this with a physical boarder of rocks or plastic edging, or by diligently weeding along the edge to keep the grass from encroaching.
Native Plant Maintenance: Each spring check your raingarden to see if there are any plants did not survive. If there are, purchase replacements to be planted in the garden. You can also check to see if there are areas of the garden that could use a few more plants. This is your chance to be creative! You can purchase replacements and additional plants that match what is already in your garden or you can try new native species for additional color and variety.
If you have questions about raingarden maintenance or are interested in installing a raingarden in your yard next spring, contact the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District, in Jordan, at 952-492-5425. Technical assistance and financial incentives may be available for help in installing the raingarden.