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Filter bed substrates, plant types recommended for rain gardens
Date:7/21/2014

ded trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, a grass, and a rush were selected to allow the researchers to evaluate the performance of a wide range of evergreen, deciduous, woody, and herbaceous plants.

Results showed that sand had good overall retention of pollutants except nitrogen. Soil had the lowest remediation of phosphorus and highest concentration of phosphorus in its effluent, and was similar in nitrogen removal efficiency to slate. Slate had the best retention of nitrogen and phosphorus. "Overall, all three substrates functioned in reducing the quantity of pollutants in urban stormwater runoff," the authors noted. They added that the impact of substrate on remediation appeared to lessen by the second season of the study; as the plants grew, root growth impacted infiltration, and nutrient uptake by the plants increased.

The researchers determined that 11 of the 16 species used in the experiments grew well in the rain gardens. Betula nigra (river birch), Betula nigra 'Duraheat', Magnolia virginiana (sweet bay magnolia), Magnolia virginiana 'Sweet Thing', Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet', Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah', Juncus effuses 'Frenzy', Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower), Helianthus angustfolius 'First Light', and Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum (Joe pye weed) performed well in the experiments and could be used as rain garden plants, according to the authors.


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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