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Bioswale Requirements and Plant Lists


Size: Length and depth are variable. The bioswale’s size is determined by the size of the surface to be drained.

Light: Full sun is best, but shade may be created by the presence of trees or surrounding buildings.

Water: No additional watering should be necessary, once plants are established.

Elevation/Topography: Generally, a gradual slope is best in order to prevent a minimum of erosion during heavier rain storms. Erosion mats are available to help hold the soil, if the slope is steep.

Soil: Do not plan a bioswale where the soil is sandy.

Plant Materials: Hardy native plants with an established root system are best. Carefully consider light and water requirements when selecting the plant species. Planting and Maintenance: Because planting is occurring on a sloped area, plants with developed root systems should be put in place using the "How To Plant and Maintain Native Plants" guidelines. Staking or landscape netting may be necessary until roots take hold.

Special Considerations

​Erosion: Erosion is probably the biggest problem to be faced with a bioswale.

Wildlife: This type of habitat is often a very attractive place for birds and other wildlife.

City Ordinances: Be sure to check on city regulations regarding any alterations of drainage ditches. Problems could arise if rainwater/snowmelt flow in a new direction, causing flooding or water retention.


Plant List for Dry Soil

Plant List for Medium Soil