En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 08, 2013

From: Washington, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Rain Gardens, Trees
Title: Rain garden for Washington MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 40' tall bald cypress at the bottom right corner of my sloped yard (slopes from 2 sides, has 3 gutter runoffs directed towards it from 50-70' away). Can I put a series of retaining walls up hill and around tree to act as a rain garden so my lower neighbors don't receive all of my runoff. There is about 8' down slope and 10' to side property lines.

ANSWER:

Whoa! We are gardeners, not civil engineers.  We can't even visualize a series of retaining walls up a hill. We would probably be more concerned with the effects of the walls on existing or planned vegetation than anything else. But, since we do not have the perfect answer on the tip of our tongues, here is an article Retaining Wall Design: How to Manage Water

Again, not quite knowing what the situation is, we do most heartily agree with the idea of a rain garden to retain and utilize some of the rainwater. If the Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress) is in the area that will be receiving the runoff, it is a perfect choice. Its roots are nearly impervious to suffocation, and you can see from the first picture below that the roots can very happily stand in water.

Since we really hate not being able to answer your specific question, here are a couple of articles that should be more help than we are:

From Grow Green (Austin TX)  Earthwise Guide to Rain Gardens

From the University of Wisconsin Extension Rain Gardens A How-To Manual for Gardeners

 

From the Image Gallery


Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Rain Gardens Questions

Native Texas plants for rain gardens
March 07, 2007 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in very shady and partial shade rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a wet area in Ohio
March 30, 2010 - I have a lot of water in my front yard are there any kind of plants that I can plant to drink up some of the water? I live in North East Ohio
view the full question and answer

Managing a wet area in Austin
November 18, 2013 - I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for a Virginia Rain Garden
October 21, 2009 - Can you recommend edible plants that would be appropriate for use in a rain garden? I'm located in Charlottesville, VA, but this can be in general as well.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a ditch in PA
June 09, 2012 - I have a property in the suburbs about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, PA. There is a small creek running across the property. The "ditch" holding the creek is about 5 feet across, but the creek i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center