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Detention Basin Requirements and Plant Lists


Size: The size varies according to the area to be drained.

Light: Full sun of six or more hours per day in the growing season is best.

Water: No additional watering is necessary once plants are established.

Elevation/Topography: A flat basin with gently sloping sides, lower than the area to be drained, is preferred.

Soil: Loose, well drained loam soil is best. Placing in a detention basin in clay soil is not recommended. Soil moisture conditions will vary from completely saturated to dry.

Planting Materials: A variety of native plants that are adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions is preferred. Most of these plants should grow well in damp soil but can also tolerate dry periods. If the sides are steep, consider using an erosion mat, a nurse crop to stabilize sides and plants that set down roots quickly for erosion control. Consult the plant list and also those for bioswales and rain gardens.

Planting and Maintenance: Follow the guidelines given on the Web page, "How to Plant and Maintain Native Plants." If prescribed burns are allowed, they would be best to insure the health of the basin. Otherwise, mowing and raking off would be the alternative process.

Special Considerations

Wildlife: This area may be especially attractive to wildlife, so take that into consideration when selecting plants for food (seeds, nectar, leaves, flowers), nest building and perches.

Winter Interest: Leave dried plants for aesthetics, animal shelters and food for winter creatures.

Plant List for Medium Soil - Full Sun

Plant List for Moist Soil - Full Sun