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Irrigation in Living Retaining Walls for Success
This has been one hot and dry summer all over the country! The selection of living walls and more directly, Living Retaining Walls means that you and/or your client value the environmental service of plants covering the wall.
Many steps have to be handled correctly in order for the new living structure to successfully grow-in and become the mature green wall that was intended at the outset. No matter what region you are in, the use of irrigation can be a valuable tool for ease of establishment in difficult weather periods or a long-term component for drought intolerant plant species
Let's start with a list that will help owners and specifiers understand the steps we take to meet owners needs and guarantee a beautiful, strong and sustainable wall.
• selection of a system that holds a lot of media in order to facilitate the root structure necessary for long term plant health
• use of well blended growth media in the wall facing with emphasis on pH, percent organics, porosity and moisture retention capacity to name a few
• proper micro-climate analysis along the entire length and height of the wall and the effect of anything near the wall that might impact it in the near term and long term
• maintenance intensity and budget
• salt tolerance, shade tolerance and similarity of water need
• interaction with people and animals ( sometimes one in the same )
• top growth preference - flowering, creeping, trailing, wall hugging, upright, size at maturity, pollinators, other habitat considerations and the list could go on
• annuals, perennials, ornamental plants, ground-covers, natives or how about a mix of them all
• can drip irrigation be included in the wall facing modules or will the use of pop-up heads elsewhere in the landscape be utilized
• where can access to water come from and is it potable or from some form of runoff harvesting
Our Library page has information regarding the inclusion of drip irrigation into our living retaining walls that may be very helpful.
You may want to visit our current, featured video page to see how SmartSlope, LLC in Baltimore is breaking new ground with a commercial project utilizing integrated drip irrigation in their SmartSlope System to successfully grow healthy plants while also serving as a storm-water management tool to keep runoff water on the site, rather than into the Chesapeake bay watershed. http://youtu.be/