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ematt21, the term facultative means having the ability to live under more than one specific set of environmental conditions. Facultative Upland refers to plants usually found in higher and dryer locations, but occasionally found in lower, moister areas. This doesn't mean they will grow near a river, but they might grow next to a wet weather creek, i.e. one that only flows when rain is heavy. Obligate means a plant MUST have certain conditions.

Plants at the base of a rain garden where water collects should be facultative wetland plants if you have dry seasons followed by wet. Those above the collection area can be facultative or facultative upland that don't need moist soil all year.

If you have clay soil, I recommend you mix in 2-3 inches of compost when you turn it. In the southern states soil bacteria doesn't slow down for winter, and organic material is quickly consumed. Apply a 1/2 inch layer of compost each year to keep the soil loose. The clay in one area of the country is different than in another. My clay is formed by fast weathering of limestone and limey rocks. It is mineral-rich, but those minerals are chemically locked in place. Compost is what unlocks those minerals. Parts of TN have underlying limestone, so your clay could be similar. Frankly, adding compost never hurts whatever soil type you have.

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Misc · More Info

I would love a rain garden in front of my retaining wall where in the late winter snow melt and in early spring rains can just sit for days and that portion of the yard becomes un-usable for weeks. Pictured here where the lounge chairs are in an area appx 15 ft long by 10 ft wide.

This is in Zone 7a and plants will not be up until late April or early May. So how do you create a rain garden in the northeast that will be ready to tackle sometimes heavy spring rains? This picture was probably taken in late spring by which time it is dry as a bone.

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Jan Curry-Varnes
Needed to prevent basement flooding with creek rise of up to two feet of Swift flash flooding that recedes very quickly after a major downpour. However, must be hardy enough to hold ground while water is running should there be cement or sidewalk guide for the runoff to the creek after it settles down and is receding as to not pull these Beautiful grasses with it ???
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