RAIN GARDENS- Maintenance

As with the establishment of any garden, watering frequency and amount is vital to plant health. Most young, establishing plants need one inch of water per week after the initial establishment period of 4-6 weeks. Keep a rain gauge in your garden to measure rain events and determine supplemental watering if needed. In subsequent years you will only need to water in dry periods.

One of the other keys is keeping the planting weeded. Mulching and use of pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen greatly reduces the chance of weed establishment in the early days of the planting. Spring and fall are usually the most critical times to stay on top of this gardening chore. Work with a perennial professional if you need help identifying a plant vs weed.

Caring for the plants involves pruning, deadheading and pinching. These three activities keep your planting looking fresh and beautiful. When you perform these takes it also gives opportunity to examine plant health and if there are any insect or disease problems present. Always use a nontoxic and natural control to insure beneficial insects are not harmed. Again seek the advice of a gardening specialist if you are unsure about what to do! After a few years you may need to divide and remove plants to continue a healthy ecosystem that remains aesthetically pleasing. This task is best completed in the spring when plants are 4” high.

Lastly, do not forget to appreciate and enjoy the fruit of your labor- a beautiful, sustainable and important habitat for ecological health.

Call on us for your spring landscape maintenance needs. We can get you started on the right path for a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy all season. Visit www.ateamlandscape.com Email aTeam@vhiinc.com or CALL Amy 507-581-6886 to setup your groundskeeping consultation today.

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RAIN GARDENS- Design and Installation


Sedge grasses are great for wet areas of the rain garden

Check with online resources or landscape professionals for guidance on size of garden needed as well as proper depth. They also can help you determine how the water will enter your garden through draintile surface run off or dry creek beds. Once you have those figured out and sketch a shape for your area the plant layout process can begin. Keep in mind light conditions of the garden throughout the day as well as bloom times so that the garden will have a long period of interest. Some people choose to go all native or pollinator plants, mixed shrubs and perennials or all grasses. There are many resource lists online to help narrow down plant choices. Most planting plans are divided into zones based on where the water will be the longest.

Popular Plant choices:

Grasses: Fox sedge, Blue Zinger sedge, Feather Reed Grass and Little Bluestem

Perennials: Blue Flag Iris, Coneflowers, Liatris and Lobelia

Shrubs: Red Twig Dogwood, Bush Honeysuckle and Spirea


Ok, now we’re ready to get out the shovels and do some digging! Draw out the outline of your planting space with spray paint or use a garden hose so you can move it around to get the shape just right. Also outline the area that will need to be the deepest part of your garden to hold the water. Decide if you are OK with herbicide to kill the grass and plan to do your spraying at least 3 days ahead of digging. If you would rather go a natural route strip the sod off and use elsewhere in yard or flip it over to create a small berm as designed in your new planting area. After surface material is removed continue to dig out the flat bottom bowl to the depth you need and size you’ve planned out.

Next bring in the compost material estimated to incorporate into the bottom of the bowl and use a garden fork to manually dig it in or employ a tiller for mechanical help. After the soil has all been raked out you are ready to place the plants using the design for proper placement. Or if you have a lot of small plants you may want to spread mulch first and then put in plants after to insure no plant gets buried in the mulching process.

Use root pruning techniques to prepare plants for proper root growth, dig your hole and plant! Mulch should be a good quality type that is fibrous and meshes well to get so as not to float and disturb the plants in a rain event. Plan for around 2” mulch depth.

As a final step thoroughly water each plant to settle it into the soil, removing air gaps and providing necessary moisture for needed root growth. Follow a landscape professional watering plan for ideal plant health and establishment.

Step back, take a look and enjoy your accomplishment. You are now benefitting the birds, bees, family, neighbors and most importantly the future of clean water.

3 month old planting

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email amy@ateamlandscape.com

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