Root Systems

Root Systems – Carolyn Case

             We knew we had a lake wall issue when we bought our cottage, but the muskrats invading the bank made clear that this was going to be a significant project.  At first, we thought it would be as simple as finding a contractor, getting the permits, and forking over a lot of money. Any reader who has dealt with the army corps of engineers is probably chuckling at my naivete. Well, I did receive an education through the process, and I am very grateful. I learned quite a bit about how to protect my property, my new lake wall, and how to prevent algae blooms, and I learned native plants would be my number one asset.

First, about lake wall repair, the county is quick to process any permit that incorporates native plants in a rip- rap wall. The benefit of the native plants is that they keep the soil and shoreline in place by having roots upwards of fifteen feet deep and are superb water filters. In my stone lake wall, I will plant fox sedge and willows where the roots will stretch to the lake and help hold everything in place and draw out excess nutrients and pollutants that harm the lake.  The plants also shade the rocks and prevent them from heating up and raising the lake temperature. A warmer lake aids the toxic algae blooms. Also, plants in the rocks deter the geese because they fear hidden predators.

On my point and property, I will be planting different native pre-planned gardens designed to flower throughout the season. Flowers such as Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans grow easily and are excellent pollinators. For my lawn, I will use Buffalo grass. This short green grass is a no-mow native lawn grass that has roots eight feet deep. These hungry roots help take out the nitrogen that the Canadian geese so readily supply. The buffalo grass only grows four to six inches and loves the Wayland climate, making it an excellent lawn grass. As you kayak around our point, I hope you will follow my progress.

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