31 Mar 2021
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NC Coastal Landscaping: A Guide for Your Yard


I’m really excited to tell you all about some new landscaping resources for North Carolina’s coastal region I know we have a mixed audience we have landscaping professionals Master Gardeners Extension staff and folks that are simply interested in this topic although one of the goals of the presentation is to share ideas that you can implement in your yard another goal is that you share this information with your neighbors clients and community at the end of the presentation you will be able to fill out a request form to receive this powerpoint and notes and that way if you want to deliver the presentation yourself if you’re comfortable with this subject matter you may go forth and do so okay so who am I like I said my name is Jayne Harrison I work for North Carolina Sea Grant our organization conducts research outreach and education on coastal and marine issues you can see me there in the bottom right I have a PhD in forestry but focus my work on environmental social science that is the human dimensions of environmental issues I’m interested in what motivates people to take environmental action and how to reduce barriers to protecting our natural resources I am joined today by Christi Peron who works for the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute Christi would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself thanks for joining us as Jane said I work for the Water Resources Research Institute and I also put some time towards North Carolina Sea Grant for the last 20 years I’ve been involved with watershed management and some former another watershed planning or implementing Watership lands engaging communities and protecting their natural resources and a lot of that it’s also involved managing stormwater through things like rain gardens and cisterns and you’ll hear a little bit about that from me later so looking forward to talking with you so this presentation is really driven by one question and here it is how can we increase nature enhancing landscaping in coastal communities with easy available affordable and attractive solutions we’re going to tell you about some of the solutions that you can implement in your yard first though let’s just chat about some of the yards that we see in our coastal neighborhoods ok so this is a home near Newbern I’d like to hear what you notice about this yard is there anything that you like in terms of their landscaping anything you dislike or think could be improved and I want you to think about it from an environmental standpoint so if you can just let us know you know what do you see in this yard here you can actually just communicate with us via the zoom chat we just like to hear from you all a little bit about what you see in this yard what do you observe in there landscaping okay so we heard no buffer zone ugly sea wall that blocks wildlife access lot of turf hmm um someone likes the trees me too no shrubbery plants I think you all are getting the picture this yard is landscaped you know with turf grass pretty common there’s a hardened shoreline someone said everything is mowed short yep so that hardened shoreline you know we also know that as a bulkhead or a barrier wall and basically that means that there’s no connection between land and water and I wonder if this photo reminds you of any yards that you see in your own neighborhood but let’s go to another home and think about what you see here check out this next photo this next slide this is a home near Wilmington now how is this yard different from the one in the previous photo do you like this one better do you prefer the earlier photo is there anything that you think could be improved what do you see from environmental standpoint here please let us know in the zoone chat water runoff living shoreline nice shoreline buffer nice flow no large trees on life not my shade good good mix you know we do see some turfgrass in this photo there are some natural areas though as well so someone said I think I’m seeing natives and a buffer as well as plant diversity that’s good for wildlife you also see land actually meeting water here so this homeowner actually went beyond turf and decided to add a perennial flowerbed to serve as a pond buffer now water front plants like this help protect water quality they also act like a filter and a sponge to remove transform and store nutrients and other pollutants in addition they do provide some shade which moderates water temperature and certainly creating habitat for wildlife so our hope is that you’ve seen more yards like this in your neighborhoods and you know there’s always more room to go but in comparison to that previous photo you can see that there are some improvements here certainly an environmental standpoint so in this presentation are really going to talk about how to create this kind of yard and why it’s desirable but first here is a little background about North Carolina coast now this is a map River Basins of the state that flow to the coast now we would like to know if you live in one of these and if so that means you live in a coastal watershed Kristi is gonna launch a poll and if you live in one of these river basins that drains into the coast please let us know if you don’t you can just click other but a minute here for people to respond to the poll half of you have responded we’ll wait just a few more moments again if you don’t live in one of these river basins just click other good yeah so you can see the results there the majority of you looks like you’re coming from the Cape Fear River Basin so my guess is you might be down in the Wilmington area we also have some folks from the Neuse River Basin so whether you’re in Raleigh or perhaps you’re down in New Bern Morehead City area got a couple folks from Pasco tanks maybe a near Elizabeth City Roanoke River Basin tarp and Luco some in white oh that could be near Swansboro and then a number from some other areas as well okay great so though one of the unfortunate things about living in these coastal watersheds is that our human activities do not always enhance the nature around us and unfortunately many of our homes and residences businesses have adverse impacts on wildlife habitat in water quality downstream population growth associated with poor site development and landscaping practices often results in habitat loss and reduce water quality now one of the special things about North Carolina is that it is home to more than 12,000 miles of shoreline coastal shoreline and along that shoreline are hundreds of creeks that foster species diversity creeks along with marshes serve as mini estuaries providing nursery habitat and feeding grounds for fish shellfish and wading birds so you all are part of this presentation today with my hope that you will meet the coastal landscape challenge our coastal population is growing so what we’re seeing in response is that forested and agricultural areas are being converted to housing transportation infrastructure shopping centers resorts industrial sites and certainly this kind of development can damage ecological systems by too drawing habitat and altering hydrologic systems this nature disconnect also harms people many studies have shown that time spent in nature improves our physical mental and psychological well-being so again going back to the really driving question in this presentation is how can we design our landscapes so that they contribute to the productivity biodiversity in ecological functioning of coastal ecosystems and then how do we connect our families and neighborhoods to the natural world so that we’re happier and healthier and one solution is through sustainable coastal landscaping practices so this is just an image of what some of those practices might look like you know we can all work together to improve the coastal landscape and at the same time invest in our health and well-being we can make changes to our landscapes that provide food and homes for pollinators and birds we can reduce stormwater runoff that causes flooding and still provide and biting out to our spaces that our families can enjoy so what I’ll say to all of us is let’s preserve the coastal environment for the next generation like these kids and enjoy it ourselves all right so Kristi and I are gonna get into the nitty-gritty of what we mean by a sustainable coastal landscape and so when we’re thinking of nature enhancing landscaping you know my mind very quickly goes to sustainability and the way that we’re defining this is really a landscape that’s attractive environmentally friendly well adapted to the local region so the coastal region storm ready functionable functional and enjoyable and cost-efficient and manageable so research has shown that our landscaping choices are frequently based on what we think others like so thus our landscaping choices really you know ought to be attractive to those other people otherwise they may not be maintained and environmentally friendly or nature enhancing landscaping means that our choices should consider other creatures so not just humans around us creating wildlife habitat the in landscaping means we will be more likely to hear songbirds and observe butterflies in our yard landscaping choices that are well adapted to the coastal region means that we consider the sunlight temperatures precipitation hydrology salts and soils of the coastal region so really key pieces of knowledge for any gardener coastal landscapes that are storm ready allow us to protect our homes and avoid damages from hurricanes if our landscaping choices are functional for what we like to do outside our homes we’re more likely to enjoy and maintain them and finally landscape choices must be cost efficient and manageable otherwise only a small segment of the population can implement or benefit now does anyone know what the flowers are in this photo if you do please type your response in the chat box or if you have a guess yeah anyone have an idea here okay we’ve got an aster yes it is an aster anyone know what kind of aster all right I’ll tell you it is an aromatic aster the genus and species Cinthia trichome a blanca folium and it’s the cultivar october skies anyone know the butterfly this is an American lady butterfly and join the asters and many species of aster are native to the coastal region and really planting native species it’s just one example of a sustainable coastal landscaping practice so we’re really gonna get into some specific ideas for what you can do as a coastal resident or leader in your community to improve the yards and neighborhoods where you live we’re gonna go through a number of ideas so what I want you to realize that you this list is no matter where you are just start somewhere do what you can do every small action you can take on your property or in your neighborhood helps to provide a sustainable landscape so the woman on the Left she is a resident of the town of st.James this is her yard her backyard and she knew she wanted to see birds and pollinators so instead of planting grass she decided to spread a packet a wildflower seeds now that was 14 years ago today her yard is a mix of native plants at least 50% that appeal to local birds and butterflies she also doesn’t use any chemical weed killers he has a rain barrel to supplement her watering and she supports bluebirds with a house for nesting he’s created a haven for people in wildlife that’s not the typical lawn with foundations routes and people often driving by they stop to admire it now the woman on the right is from Wilmington and she decided to install a backyard rain garden at her home her goal was to divert stormwater runoff and avoid pulling water the rain garden accomplishes this by slowing the runoff and allowing the water to percolate into the soil both these women had the interest the willingness to put some time and energy ARDS you may not have the same amount of time or resources but we want to share a range of ways that you can contribute so this is recommendation number one and it’s something if you’re a Master Gardener or in the know I’m guessing you’re aware of choose native and non invasive plants well-suited to coastal conditions native plants play a critical role in coastal landscaping for one wildlife relies on native plants for food and shelter also native plants are well adapted to the harsh conditions of the coastal region so they generally don’t require a lot of watering or fertilizer now shrubs and trees native to the coastal environment are more likely to expand the effects of storms because they’re resistant to wind and floods when selecting native plants you can choose species of different types different heights blooming times the assortment will benefit both plant and animal communities now one example of a native coastal North Carolina plant is the seashore mallow maybe you’ve seen this perennial and brackish or even freshwater marshes one reason the species is an attractive addition to a yard is that it has a long balloon period so that can extend from May into October these shore malas also attract pollinators like butterflies and other insects as well as ruby-throated hummingbirds and even lizards you might be wondering about non-native plants and whether they’re okay to use some non natives are very well adapted to the coastal environment so really picking a plant regardless of origin that flourishes in this climate will certainly reduce the need for excessive watering fertilizer but regardless you need to avoid invasive species so these are often non-native species that threaten existing existing native plant communities and the wildlife that depends on them so examples you know Chinese privet English ivy you see them all over they’re not things that you want to add to your yard so we’re going to just go through a few examples of some native and invasive plants I want to see your all’s knowledge here christy is working to launch a poll for us so let’s see if we can get to it and the question for you all is can you identify the native tree I think it’s just other piece and so you’re gonna look at these two we have loblolly Bay which is ordo Nia Glassie Anantha s’ and then we have mimosa albizia julibrissin and so this pole is about to launch no you’re all good we’re learning is learning how this webinar works okay all right now you have the pole can you identify the native tree can you see the picture no picture okay so yeah so I think most of you knew immediately that mimosa is not native to the coastal region or our state and yet you’re much more likely to see it in your neighbor’s yard than the loblolly Bay mimosa is considered an invasive in the southeast it commonly advances from the garden to natural habitats it produces shoots from root sprouts allowing it to form dense thickets which prevents native plants from growing alternatives he may want to consider are the native red Buckeye and the Eastern redbud Christi were you able to show them the poll results moment all thank you for your patience as we learn this okay hopefully you can see the results most of you could see there that it was the loblolly day we’ll just have to go back and forth yeah so we’ll just if you could just let us know if you can see the picture I am just gonna go back to you escape you can answer what you’re seeing right now okay can’t see any pictures so let’s go to share nothing and then share scream alright so here we go yeah stop sharing results Christy makes sure everything’s good in the zoom just let us know if you can see the presentation I think folks … The loblolly bay, which you may be less familiar with in regards to landscaping, is a flowering, broadleaf, evergreen tree common in pocosin or wetland bogs, swamp forests, and wet pine savannas.

Loblolly bay is important to Carolina Bay wetland ecosystems which are unique geological formations with an elliptical shape that are often seen in Eastern North Carolina it provides cover to wildlife during winter and extreme weather okay we are going to go to the next hole and so can you identify the native bush so we’ve got thorny olive Ely Agnes pungent and we have heal pond Holly elix OMA Toria which one is native yeah back in business I think everyone see in in the PowerPoint good okay so we’re gonna end the polling I think we’ve got a good sense that you all are a pretty educated bunch thorny olive is indeed an invasive shrub spread by bird this first seats good alternatives are yo pond and highbush blueberry yo pond Holly for example is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to sandy woods brackish and tidal marsh shorelines dunes maritime forests and shrub thickets it’s white fragrant flowers give way to red berries that provide sustenance to song birds and small mammals okay this is your final quiz on native and invasive plants I think you’re all are gonna get this one can you identify the native vine we have Japanese honeysuckle lonicera hoppin akka and coral honeysuckle lonicera sempervirens okay so I think you all are definitely getting this one Christy will show us the results here Japanese honeysuckle is a common invasive plant in the southeast it colonizes by prolific vine growth and seeds that are spread by birds the plant forms evergreen max which shade out native vegetation and climb up small trees and shrubs good native alternatives are Carolina Jessamine coral honeysuckle and cross fine coral honeysuckle for example is a fast-growing semi evergreen by that twines along the margins of maritime forests and maritime shrub thickets it’s a larval host to the hummingbird clear wing moth various saw birds including cedar waxwings cat birds and Cardinals feed on its round red berries and hummingbirds seek its nectar okay so I’m gonna turn over the presentation now to Christy and she’s going to get into a few more of our recommendations for coast landscape one thing you can do is use a mix of plant types in your yard trees shrubs grasses vines and flowering perennials which are the plants that come back every year this results in a very vegetation structure so by varied I mean different layers of vegetation so you have ground cover shrubs medium trees and tall trees like you see in this picture so why is this varied vegetation important anyway I was asking for a chat but that’s okay it offers both ecological and health benefits so for instance the larger vegetation the trees help keep things cool much of the plants take in carbon dioxide plus the varied plant layers provide habitat for various animals including birds and insects that control other plant pests so the varied vegetation also improves the quality of groundwater and surface water so let’s get to lawns the lawns are typically one non-native species of turf grads which doesn’t do much for wildlife so you could consider long alternatives like ground covers ferns for example provide foraging space and shelter for ground feeding birds while other critters like frogs and turtles like to hide in them and this is a cinnamon fern that you see in this picture ferns are great for shady spots as is wild ginger another ground cover option on a sunny spa is great for flowering perennials that come back year after year like Rebecca or what we also call black-eyed Susans native grasses like pink Muhly grass are another low maintenance option you can also reduce your lawn by expanding mulch around trees and flower beds so most of us like a little grass under our feet I know at our house we use it for whiffle ball and saw but so you can consider how your lawn can fit into a sustainable landscape you can minimize turf grass to appropriate areas like relatively flat sites that get heavy usage and Sun for at least four hours a day you can allow your turf grass to go dormant during drought it will come back so if you’re concerned about weeds popping up remember that weeds what we think of as weeds often provide important resources for pollinators like bees so you could even mow it a little higher height and let some of those weeds grow and flower if you do use a turf grass consider a low input warm season grass that’s well suited for the coastal environment centipede grass requires minimal fertilizer in low lowing frequency compared to Bermuda grass st.Augustine grass and zoysia grass so reducing water and fertilizer use is another step towards sustainable landscaping try to water early in the morning so it doesn’t evaporate as quickly also avoid light frequent watering strong and healthy plants have deep roots which require deep wiring so there’s no hard-and-fast definition for what is meant by watering deeply but it generally means that the water is able to soak at least eight inches below the soil surface and the main point between behind this is that most plants roots are not sitting close to the soil surface they’ve worked their way down into the soil in search of water and nutrients and this helps protect the plant in times of drought because the soil surface will dry out much quicker than it will below ground where the soil is cooler so watering deeply teaches the roots to reach deep into the soil for water you can also wait to water grass until it’s show signs of needing water at that point you could provide a half inch of water so that the roots are saturated so you can think of it as giving your yard a 1/2 inch rainfall to help you figure out how much is a half inch you can set a can else to catch water when you’re when you’re watering so for example an empty tuna can is 1 inches tall so you can figure out how long it takes to fill up half of that can if you’re using a rotor sprinkler this may take 45 minutes to an hour spray sprinklers take about 1/3 of the time so 15 to 20 minutes as for fertilizer first test your soil to see what kind of nutrients your lawn actually needs so buy nutrients I mean nitrogen phosphorus potassium and the like it may be that you won’t have to apply anything depending on your soil quality but if you do need fertilizer be sure to apply it at the right time of year timing depends on the species of grass that you use and whatever you do don’t apply fertilizer to frozen ground or dormant turf because then it won’t get used also keep fertilizer off of paved services otherwise it’ll run off your yard quickly and go into the storm drain system and your local waterways so soil is really important for sustainable landscaping yards and numeral developments often suffer from poor soil health and why is that soil can get compacted by heavy equipment during development so as a result the soil structure breaks down and it can’t hold much water soil pH which is a marker of acidity can also change when soil deteriorates and compacted soil also contains fewer nutrients and less organic matter so an example of organic matter is what’s found in compost and you can see a picture of that they’re specifically its residue that comes from a once living or living organism organism it is often in the stage of decomposition so organic matter increases water infiltration into the soil this is really important it also improves soils water holding capacity as well as its nutrient holding capacity if you look at the picture on the top right here on the right here it’s an Elizabeth City gardener that’s making who’s making compost from his kitchen scraps to spread on his garden beds so what should you do if you have a lawn but your soil needs resuscitation you can try a technique called top dressing which entails adding a thin layer of compost on to existing lawn top dressing your lawn with compost is a great way to enhance soil health and healthier soil means less need for water and fertilizer compost top dressing has been done on golf courses for years and is becoming more common for home lawns so to do this the layer of compost should be spread no more than a quarter inch thick and as I mentioned before you want to know exactly what your soil pH is and whether nutrients are needed and one thing that’s really great to note is that between April and November you can have your soil tested at no charge via the North Carolina Cooperative Extension so to have that done you can contact your County Extension Office to learn more ok so here’s here’s where I spend a lot of my time thinking about managing stormwater to improve water quality there’s a lot you can do on your own property the improving stormwater management is yet one more sustainable coastal landscaping technique so the idea is to try to keep and use as much of the rainfall on your property as possible so you’ll conserve water as you use less to water your plants and contribute to reducing flooding downstream there’s a range of activities that reduce the amount of runoff that leaves the yard which can then flow downstream and cause erosion pollution and flooding problems as you’ll see in the picture on the top on the left using rain barrels or cisterns which are much larger rain barrels is one option another easy option is to direct the runoff from your downspouts if you have any towards planted areas rather than into ditches or the road where it will end up in your nearest water body some homeowners may even want to install rain gardens to allow even more water to infiltrate so we saw a picture earlier in the presentation basically a rain garden is a depressed landscape area in the yard that allows rainwater to soak in while pollution the rain gardens are designed to release water downhill away from the home during larger rain events so the photo on the left is a wilmington resident who is using her rain barrel to water her plants and the photo on the right is a youth service group proudly showing off a rain garden that I helped hoe Nomar homeowner install in Cary North Carolina so you’ve perhaps known neighborhoods have stormwater ponds and they can vary from unsightly to appealing so does your neighborhood have a stormwater pond see any of these in your neighborhoods if you do have you seen how its functioning or maybe you want to consider you see somebody saying yes you may want to consider how its functioning does it look the way you want it to do so in this picture this is a stormwater ponds in kurtik County that was physically reconstructed to improve the quality of storm water leaving the development property the oil was removed around the perimeter of the pond and plants were installed to create a shallow water wetland native plants that look to me like ticks see perhaps were added along the shoreline to improve the ponds ability to remove pollutants so what was once a rather unattractive pond now treat stormwater runoff provides wildlife benefits and it’s a whole lot nicer to look at so you can create better stormwater pond with some of the following techniques first perimeter plantings can be added these are rings of native vegetation around the perimeter of the pond that can improve water quality prevent shoreline erosion provide wildlife habitat and deter nuisance canada geese loading treatment wetlands are another feature you can add these wetlands typically consist of large plastic mats that flow 1/2 above the water and half below it wetland plants like brushes sedges hibiscus lizard’s tail and pickerel weeds are planted in the mesh and grow by taking nutrients from the stormwater pond so these floating wetlands improve how the stormwater is treated and they also provide wildlife habitat and add some beauty and just to mention briefly stormwater ponds that have been typically not designed to maintain they usually not designed or maintained to reduce much stormwater pollution or so there’s a lot that can be done to improve them another thing that can be done are to add wetland benches these are shallow water wetlands that appear along the shoreline of ponds they can increase the capacity of the stormwater pond to remove pollutants which helps ensure the water discharged from the pond is cleaner so construction of such a wetland bench in an existing pond requires creating equipment like a backhoe or an excavator as well as an experienced contractor or equipment operator and possibly permits from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality so just be careful when you go about making these changes it’s important to also control unwanted plants not every plant is beneficial to a pond so being vigilant about inspecting for and removing invasive and potentially harmful plants one of the best ways to keep upon attractive and functioning properly finally you can use trails signs and routine maintenance there are people to your pond and make it a neighborhood amenity someone was asking if we’re gonna cover recommended plants the rain gardens throughout this presentation we’re mentioning you know plants here and there as examples but at the end you can actually request a few different resources from us and one of those is a list of we’ve got all kinds of great online educational resources you know about rain gardens in particular in the plants that you could choose so bake sure to fill out the request form at the end if you’re looking for more detailed information about any particular topic ok so again this is Jane I’m gonna keep going with a few more recommendations for you all one of those is certainly to create storm ready resilient landscapes and you know what we’ve seen you know in recent times since Hurricane Florence and more recently hurricane durian many coastal residents are rethinking the resilience of their landscapes the coastal Carolina’s are second only to Florida and the number of times they have been pummeled by hurricanes and Nor’easters and the intensity of hurricanes and Nor’easters is increasing coastal storms are developing higher wind speeds delivering more intense rainfalls and driving higher storm surges ashore now this photo was taken near Swansboro just three months after Hurricane Florence as you can see there’s not a lot of vegetation there so we’re going to talk about some of the landscaping practices that can be used to better protect these properties okay so one of those ideas is really to consider nature enhancing alternatives when replacing deteriorating bulkheads for those who are looking to protect waterfront property know that you have an alternative that can actually even do more to protect the shoreline these living shorelines have been shown to outperform hard engineered shoreline stabilization structures during storms and are at a lower cost to repair this photo here is a deteriorating bulkhead in Elizabeth City the property to the right you know this is someone’s front yard floods often so with this bulkhead meaning replaced why not look into some alternative options and so one of those great alternatives living shorelines is you know it is a good alternative because it maintains existing connections between uplands intertidal and aquatic areas while providing shoreline erosion control and again observations after hurricanes indicate that living shorelines outperformed nearby bulkheads by dissipating wave energy and reducing or line erosion so if you’re wondering what exactly a living shoreline is it’s kind of what it sounds like an area along the waterfront that’s full of riding vegetation even native materials like oyster shells they provide shoreline erosion control in addition to ecological benefits like protecting coastal salt marsh habitat for fish and crustaceans this photo here shows volunteers placing bags of oyster shells to establish a living shoreline in Moorhead city living shorelines can also include planted salt marsh grasses they maintain the natural slope of the land which helps absorb waves as they roll up the shoreline in addition to outperforming bulkheads living shorelines have proven to be a longer term less expensive option for waterfront property owners now recently has become easier for homeowners to get a living shoreline permit you need to check with the North Carolina Division of coastal management to determine whether this is an option for you or your community one of our final recommendations is to select storm ready trees to protect your home we know there’s been a lot of tree loss since these storms and a lot of people are preemptively removing trees in their neighborhood or near their homes and so it’s important to know which plant species best survive storm events and thus you can install more storm resistant landscapes because of their size and longevity trees and shrubs are especially a concern these are just a few examples of native trees highly suited for storm events and you can see some of the observations that have been found during storms so the coastal American born bean is a great choice because of its hard dense wood the limbs resist breakage it also has medium high wind resistance now regardless of the species they choose trees growing closely together typically have an advantage trees with interlacing root systems are less likely to be uprooted and single specimens and trees growing in clumps that is not in a line yield one another this arrangement enhances their survival in addition clumps composed of a mixture of species endure powerful winds better than clumps of a single species so I’ll just give you a few more examples of some storm ready trees one favorite the live oak certainly this has high wind resistance now wind may do foliate the tree but with the deep roots its well-drained soil you see that it certainly has a somewhat low profile it tends to do pretty well I actually had a call from a resident of Beaufort just the other day and he when he was calling just to you know tell me how great live oaks do and how he thinks they’re the only tree that should be planted near the water fry invoker now I might argue that there’s a few more to try but the live oak is certainly a great example and one thing is I think to tell your neighbors and to tell your friends who are feeling that kind of fear with snow so every time storm season comes they’re thinking you know I might cut down all my trees or the trees near my house remind them that you know it’s important to regularly inspect their trees or damage or disease but if they are able to maintain their trees health they really are gonna greatly reduce the likelihood of storm damage okay and if you’re looking for even more detail on storm running trees I really would advocate that you check out Paul hosier’s book this is seacoast plants of the Carolinas particularly chapter 7 on native vegetation and coastal storms it’ll tell you a lot about different species that’s where we got this information about trees to choose for storm events and another thing to realize is this book is just a wonderful resource overall about native plants and vasive plants in the coastal region in our state ok so our final recommendation before we get to some specific resources that we’re going to share with you all it’s just to seek out expertise if you need help I know it can be daunting to change your yard or to give your neighbor some advice but there really are people who can help so this presentation was actually created by the coastal landscapes initiative at something that Christy and I participate in and it’s a partnership that brings together experts in landscape architecture design and contracting or to culture science and business ecology and wildlife education and out now some of the easiest experts and most knowledgeable ones to access are at your county’s Extension Office for example grace Mane’s are pictured here is the consumer horticulture agent in Pasco Dane County based in Elizabeth City you can also connect with your local Master Gardeners to get your answers your questions answered and like I said we are gonna provide a resource list on some particular topics for you I’m gonna highlight just some of those resources now ok so if you haven’t seen it already one of the first products that the coastal landscapes initiative created is this guide to coastal landscaping in the state and it features 34 native plants ranging from trees shrubs and grasses to bind some flowers and it includes brief descriptions about each one it also offers information on the coastal conditions that each plant is most suitable for the guide comes both as a booklet and a brochure for quick reference and what I’ve been telling folks is you can heat this guide this is something I think high-quality enough to keep on your shelf your bookshelf your library at home and then take that brochure with you when you visit your local nursery or garden center and tell them these are the plants that you want to see a big you know part of making this change this increasing consumer demand for these landscaping resources as well as increasing supply from the landscaping industry and I do want to say you know these guides they’re not exhaustive like I said we only have 34 plants featured there are many other wonderful native plants I have people call me just ask why was my plant not in here you know and it doesn’t mean because we left it out that it’s not a great plant but this is a great place to start if you’re looking to bring some natives to your yard or to realize maybe some that you’re missing okay so we also have some really wonderful design templates that are almost complete these are a series of design templates that you can use in your own coastal garden and so there’s different types you can see some of these design templates using native plans for the foundation plans near a house for screening you can see some designs related to pollinator friendly borders natural and constructed shorelines so if you want to include a living shoreline filter strips and really they’re easily adapted to suit unique site conditions designs range from naturalistic to more polished and tidy and they are intended to help define edges and organize spaces in the yard they also work well as standalone gardens this is just a few examples of what those design templates look like so just a few pieces that I’ve put here this is a template that’s created to provide privacy screening and really it’s a you know semi evergreen border which is a good choice for increasing privacy at your home or blocking an unsightly view year-round now for several years while the trees are still young in this template they’re suggesting suite a Magnolia you’ll see perennial flowers planted the base of solidago and orange cone flower that will get plenty of Sun to bloom throughout the spring summer and fall attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects in the fall and winter birds will forage on the flower seeds so in each of these templates you’ll see some suggested plans as well as some alternatives so that you can you know have a variety to choose from and I have just one more example of a design template this is the filter strip and the idea is you would plant these plants to filter out sediment pollutants and nutrients from stormwater before it flows into a water body good locations include along ditches or swales along the shore of a pond or at the top of a seawall so you can see in each of these templates we have the type of plant the number in the design as well as spacing and layout the plans are color coded inlay with dimensions so you can see here in this design we’ve included switchgrass Muhly grass and sand coreopsis now you can find more resources like this if you go to the next slide Christie there is our website please check out go dot NCSU dot edu forward slash coastal landscapes and Christy I wonder could you put that in the zoom chat just type that out yeah exactly it’s just where we’re keeping all of our resources for the coastal lands I expect the design templates to be eaten we’ll see hopefully in the next few weeks we’re just putting the final touches on those those are going to be a wonderful resource another resource that we have developed if you go to the next slide Christy you can also go to this site which is also linked to our coastal landscape site Christy would you put that in zoom – zoom chatbox so go in CSU edu or in slash model landscapes if you’re trying to get an idea of what kind of landscaping practices that we’re talking about what they look like and you want to see them in the seasons in a real place and near your neighborhood you can check out this map and so what it does is identifies publicly accessible sites with sustainable landscaping features for example the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island features a demonstration rain garden and native plant habitat garden the town of Sunset Beach is developing a dune garden with over 50 species of native plants if you’re aware of a great example of publicly accessible sustainable coastal landscaping you can submit the site details here just go to this website and you’ll see in the top how to do so okay so really our final question to you all is what will you do and what about your neighbors this is that homeowner that we talked about earlier he lives in Wilmington or near Wilmington and he helped to organize his neighborhood stormwater pond committee so that was that house we saw that had the perennial flower bed this is just a different viewpoint of it and what he does is he actually provides information to his neighbors on how to keep stormwater ponds functioning and beautiful this is that pond behind his house and it features many gorgeous native flowering perennials if you want to see sustainable coastal landscaping become the norm in your community there are a lot of things you can do first please share the coastal landscaping resources that we’ve talked about share them on community listservs next door Facebook groups in person you can participate also in neighborhood native plant buys and sales or you could start one if you’re looking for a landscape designer or contractor find someone with a proven commitment to sustainable landscaping and once you find someone you like pay it forward by sharing the recommendation with your neighbors and certainly don’t forget to have fun and celebrate successful landscaping projects in your neighborhood and community you could get out an annual award for the most sustainable yard or green yard and what if you belong to a homeowners association you can help by reviewing covenants and promoting adoption of sustainable landscaping language also encourage your HOAs to include native plants on allowable plant lists now Kristy is going to launch the last poll this is where we’re going to find out just a little bit about your knowledge of these topics and whether this presentation has given you any ideas for new things you might want to do please go ahead and fill that out we are aware that the information we share today was a refresher for many of you and for others though you might have learned quite a bit so we’re hopeful to see that you can share this information with others

Augustine grass and zoysia grass so reducing water and fertilizer use is another step towards sustainable landscaping try to water early in the morning so it doesn’t evaporate as quickly also avoid light frequent watering strong and healthy plants have deep roots which require deep wiring so there’s no hard-and-fast definition for what is meant by watering deeply but it generally means that the water is able to soak at least eight inches below the soil surface and the main point between behind this is that most plants roots are not sitting close to the soil surface they’ve worked their way down into the soil in search of water and nutrients and this helps protect the plant in times of drought because the soil surface will dry out much quicker than it will below ground where the soil is cooler so watering deeply teaches the roots to reach deep into the soil for water you can also wait to water grass until it’s show signs of needing water at that point you could provide a half inch of water so that the roots are saturated so you can think of it as giving your yard a 1/2 inch rainfall to help you figure out how much is a half inch you can set a can else to catch water when you’re when you’re watering so for example an empty tuna can is 1 inches tall so you can figure out how long it takes to fill up half of that can if you’re using a rotor sprinkler this may take 45 minutes to an hour spray sprinklers take about 1/3 of the time so 15 to 20 minutes as for fertilizer first test your soil to see what kind of nutrients your lawn actually needs so buy nutrients I mean nitrogen phosphorus potassium and the like it may be that you won’t have to apply anything depending on your soil quality but if you do need fertilizer be sure to apply it at the right time of year timing depends on the species of grass that you use and whatever you do don’t apply fertilizer to frozen ground or dormant turf because then it won’t get used also keep fertilizer off of paved services otherwise it’ll run off your yard quickly and go into the storm drain system and your local waterways so soil is really important for sustainable landscaping yards and numeral developments often suffer from poor soil health and why is that soil can get compacted by heavy equipment during development so as a result the soil structure breaks down and it can’t hold much water soil pH which is a marker of acidity can also change when soil deteriorates and compacted soil also contains fewer nutrients and less organic matter so an example of organic matter is what’s found in compost and you can see a picture of that they’re specifically its residue that comes from a once living or living organism organism it is often in the stage of decomposition so organic matter increases water infiltration into the soil this is really important it also improves soils water holding capacity as well as its nutrient holding capacity if you look at the picture on the top right here on the right here it’s an Elizabeth City gardener that’s making who’s making compost from his kitchen scraps to spread on his garden beds so what should you do if you have a lawn but your soil needs resuscitation you can try a technique called top dressing which entails adding a thin layer of compost on to existing lawn top dressing your lawn with compost is a great way to enhance soil health and healthier soil means less need for water and fertilizer compost top dressing has been done on golf courses for years and is becoming more common for home lawns so to do this the layer of compost should be spread no more than a quarter inch thick and as I mentioned before you want to know exactly what your soil pH is and whether nutrients are needed and one thing that’s really great to note is that between April and November you can have your soil tested at no charge via the North Carolina Cooperative Extension so to have that done you can contact your County Extension Office to learn more ok so here’s here’s where I spend a lot of my time thinking about managing stormwater to improve water quality there’s a lot you can do on your own property the improving stormwater management is yet one more sustainable coastal landscaping technique so the idea is to try to keep and use as much of the rainfall on your property as possible so you’ll conserve water as you use less to water your plants and contribute to reducing flooding downstream there’s a range of activities that reduce the amount of runoff that leaves the yard which can then flow downstream and cause erosion pollution and flooding problems as you’ll see in the picture on the top on the left using rain barrels or cisterns which are much larger rain barrels is one option another easy option is to direct the runoff from your downspouts if you have any towards planted areas rather than into ditches or the road where it will end up in your nearest water body some homeowners may even want to install rain gardens to allow even more water to infiltrate so we saw a picture earlier in the presentation basically a rain garden is a depressed landscape area in the yard that allows rainwater to soak in while pollution the rain gardens are designed to release water downhill away from the home during larger rain events so the photo on the left is a wilmington resident who is using her rain barrel to water her plants and the photo on the right is a youth service group proudly showing off a rain garden that I helped hoe Nomar homeowner install in Cary North Carolina so you’ve perhaps known neighborhoods have stormwater ponds and they can vary from unsightly to appealing so does your neighborhood have a stormwater pond see any of these in your neighborhoods if you do have you seen how its functioning or maybe you want to consider you see somebody saying yes you may want to consider how its functioning does it look the way you want it to do so in this picture this is a stormwater ponds in kurtik County that was physically reconstructed to improve the quality of storm water leaving the development property the oil was removed around the perimeter of the pond and plants were installed to create a shallow water wetland native plants that look to me like ticks see perhaps were added along the shoreline to improve the ponds ability to remove pollutants so what was once a rather unattractive pond now treat stormwater runoff provides wildlife benefits and it’s a whole lot nicer to look at so you can create better stormwater pond with some of the following techniques first perimeter plantings can be added these are rings of native vegetation around the perimeter of the pond that can improve water quality prevent shoreline erosion provide wildlife habitat and deter nuisance canada geese loading treatment wetlands are another feature you can add these wetlands typically consist of large plastic mats that flow 1/2 above the water and half below it wetland plants like brushes sedges hibiscus lizard’s tail and pickerel weeds are planted in the mesh and grow by taking nutrients from the stormwater pond so these floating wetlands improve how the stormwater is treated and they also provide wildlife habitat and add some beauty and just to mention briefly stormwater ponds that have been typically not designed to maintain they usually not designed or maintained to reduce much stormwater pollution or so there’s a lot that can be done to improve them another thing that can be done are to add wetland benches these are shallow water wetlands that appear along the shoreline of ponds they can increase the capacity of the stormwater pond to remove pollutants which helps ensure the water discharged from the pond is cleaner so construction of such a wetland bench in an existing pond requires creating equipment like a backhoe or an excavator as well as an experienced contractor or equipment operator and possibly permits from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality so just be careful when you go about making these changes it’s important to also control unwanted plants not every plant is beneficial to a pond so being vigilant about inspecting for and removing invasive and potentially harmful plants one of the best ways to keep upon attractive and functioning properly finally you can use trails signs and routine maintenance there are people to your pond and make it a neighborhood amenity someone was asking if we’re gonna cover recommended plants the rain gardens throughout this presentation we’re mentioning you know plants here and there as examples but at the end you can actually request a few different resources from us and one of those is a list of we’ve got all kinds of great online educational resources you know about rain gardens in particular in the plants that you could choose so bake sure to fill out the request form at the end if you’re looking for more detailed information about any particular topic ok so again this is Jane I’m gonna keep going with a few more recommendations for you all one of those is certainly to create storm ready resilient landscapes and you know what we’ve seen you know in recent times since Hurricane Florence and more recently hurricane durian many coastal residents are rethinking the resilience of their landscapes the coastal Carolina’s are second only to Florida and the number of times they have been pummeled by hurricanes and Nor’easters and the intensity of hurricanes and Nor’easters is increasing coastal storms are developing higher wind speeds delivering more intense rainfalls and driving higher storm surges ashore now this photo was taken near Swansboro just three months after Hurricane Florence as you can see there’s not a lot of vegetation there so we’re going to talk about some of the landscaping practices that can be used to better protect these properties okay so one of those ideas is really to consider nature enhancing alternatives when replacing deteriorating bulkheads for those who are looking to protect waterfront property know that you have an alternative that can actually even do more to protect the shoreline these living shorelines have been shown to outperform hard engineered shoreline stabilization structures during storms and are at a lower cost to repair this photo here is a deteriorating bulkhead in Elizabeth City the property to the right you know this is someone’s front yard floods often so with this bulkhead meaning replaced why not look into some alternative options and so one of those great alternatives living shorelines is you know it is a good alternative because it maintains existing connections between uplands intertidal and aquatic areas while providing shoreline erosion control and again observations after hurricanes indicate that living shorelines outperformed nearby bulkheads by dissipating wave energy and reducing or line erosion so if you’re wondering what exactly a living shoreline is it’s kind of what it sounds like an area along the waterfront that’s full of riding vegetation even native materials like oyster shells they provide shoreline erosion control in addition to ecological benefits like protecting coastal salt marsh habitat for fish and crustaceans this photo here shows volunteers placing bags of oyster shells to establish a living shoreline in Moorhead city living shorelines can also include planted salt marsh grasses they maintain the natural slope of the land which helps absorb waves as they roll up the shoreline in addition to outperforming bulkheads living shorelines have proven to be a longer term less expensive option for waterfront property owners now recently has become easier for homeowners to get a living shoreline permit you need to check with the North Carolina Division of coastal management to determine whether this is an option for you or your community one of our final recommendations is to select storm ready trees to protect your home we know there’s been a lot of tree loss since these storms and a lot of people are preemptively removing trees in their neighborhood or near their homes and so it’s important to know which plant species best survive storm events and thus you can install more storm resistant landscapes because of their size and longevity trees and shrubs are especially a concern these are just a few examples of native trees highly suited for storm events and you can see some of the observations that have been found during storms so the coastal American born bean is a great choice because of its hard dense wood the limbs resist breakage it also has medium high wind resistance now regardless of the species they choose trees growing closely together typically have an advantage trees with interlacing root systems are less likely to be uprooted and single specimens and trees growing in clumps that is not in a line yield one another this arrangement enhances their survival in addition clumps composed of a mixture of species endure powerful winds better than clumps of a single species so I’ll just give you a few more examples of some storm ready trees one favorite the live oak certainly this has high wind resistance now wind may do foliate the tree but with the deep roots its well-drained soil you see that it certainly has a somewhat low profile it tends to do pretty well I actually had a call from a resident of Beaufort just the other day and he when he was calling just to you know tell me how great live oaks do and how he thinks they’re the only tree that should be planted near the water fry invoker now I might argue that there’s a few more to try but the live oak is certainly a great example and one thing is I think to tell your neighbors and to tell your friends who are feeling that kind of fear with snow so every time storm season comes they’re thinking you know I might cut down all my trees or the trees near my house remind them that you know it’s important to regularly inspect their trees or damage or disease but if they are able to maintain their trees health they really are gonna greatly reduce the likelihood of storm damage okay and if you’re looking for even more detail on storm running trees I really would advocate that you check out Paul hosier’s book this is seacoast plants of the Carolinas particularly chapter 7 on native vegetation and coastal storms it’ll tell you a lot about different species that’s where we got this information about trees to choose for storm events and another thing to realize is this book is just a wonderful resource overall about native plants and vasive plants in the coastal region in our state ok so our final recommendation before we get to some specific resources that we’re going to share with you all it’s just to seek out expertise if you need help I know it can be daunting to change your yard or to give your neighbor some advice but there really are people who can help so this presentation was actually created by the coastal landscapes initiative at something that Christy and I participate in and it’s a partnership that brings together experts in landscape architecture design and contracting or to culture science and business ecology and wildlife education and out now some of the easiest experts and most knowledgeable ones to access are at your county’s Extension Office for example grace Mane’s are pictured here is the consumer horticulture agent in Pasco Dane County based in Elizabeth City you can also connect with your local Master Gardeners to get your answers your questions answered and like I said we are gonna provide a resource list on some particular topics for you I’m gonna highlight just some of those resources now ok so if you haven’t seen it already one of the first products that the coastal landscapes initiative created is this guide to coastal landscaping in the state and it features 34 native plants ranging from trees shrubs and grasses to bind some flowers and it includes brief descriptions about each one it also offers information on the coastal conditions that each plant is most suitable for the guide comes both as a booklet and a brochure for quick reference and what I’ve been telling folks is you can heat this guide this is something I think high-quality enough to keep on your shelf your bookshelf your library at home and then take that brochure with you when you visit your local nursery or garden center and tell them these are the plants that you want to see a big you know part of making this change this increasing consumer demand for these landscaping resources as well as increasing supply from the landscaping industry and I do want to say you know these guides they’re not exhaustive like I said we only have 34 plants featured there are many other wonderful native plants I have people call me just ask why was my plant not in here you know and it doesn’t mean because we left it out that it’s not a great plant but this is a great place to start if you’re looking to bring some natives to your yard or to realize maybe some that you’re missing okay so we also have some really wonderful design templates that are almost complete these are a series of design templates that you can use in your own coastal garden and so there’s different types you can see some of these design templates using native plans for the foundation plans near a house for screening you can see some designs related to pollinator friendly borders natural and constructed shorelines so if you want to include a living shoreline filter strips and really they’re easily adapted to suit unique site conditions designs range from naturalistic to more polished and tidy and they are intended to help define edges and organize spaces in the yard they also work well as standalone gardens this is just a few examples of what those design templates look like so just a few pieces that I’ve put here this is a template that’s created to provide privacy screening and really it’s a you know semi evergreen border which is a good choice for increasing privacy at your home or blocking an unsightly view year-round now for several years while the trees are still young in this template they’re suggesting suite a Magnolia you’ll see perennial flowers planted the base of solidago and orange cone flower that will get plenty of Sun to bloom throughout the spring summer and fall attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects in the fall and winter birds will forage on the flower seeds so in each of these templates you’ll see some suggested plans as well as some alternatives so that you can you know have a variety to choose from and I have just one more example of a design template this is the filter strip and the idea is you would plant these plants to filter out sediment pollutants and nutrients from stormwater before it flows into a water body good locations include along ditches or swales along the shore of a pond or at the top of a seawall so you can see in each of these templates we have the type of plant the number in the design as well as spacing and layout the plans are color coded inlay with dimensions so you can see here in this design we’ve included switchgrass Muhly grass and sand coreopsis now you can find more resources like this if you go to the next slide Christie there is our website please check out go dot NCSU dot edu forward slash coastal landscapes and Christy I wonder could you put that in the zoom chat just type that out yeah exactly it’s just where we’re keeping all of our resources for the coastal lands I expect the design templates to be eaten we’ll see hopefully in the next few weeks we’re just putting the final touches on those those are going to be a wonderful resource another resource that we have developed if you go to the next slide Christy you can also go to this site which is also linked to our coastal landscape site Christy would you put that in zoom – zoom chatbox so go in CSU edu or in slash model landscapes if you’re trying to get an idea of what kind of landscaping practices that we’re talking about what they look like and you want to see them in the seasons in a real place and near your neighborhood you can check out this map and so what it does is identifies publicly accessible sites with sustainable landscaping features for example the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island features a demonstration rain garden and native plant habitat garden the town of Sunset Beach is developing a dune garden with over 50 species of native plants if you’re aware of a great example of publicly accessible sustainable coastal landscaping you can submit the site details here just go to this website and you’ll see in the top how to do so okay so really our final question to you all is what will you do and what about your neighbors this is that homeowner that we talked about earlier he lives in Wilmington or near Wilmington and he helped to organize his neighborhood stormwater pond committee so that was that house we saw that had the perennial flower bed this is just a different viewpoint of it and what he does is he actually provides information to his neighbors on how to keep stormwater ponds functioning and beautiful this is that pond behind his house and it features many gorgeous native flowering perennials if you want to see sustainable coastal landscaping become the norm in your community there are a lot of things you can do first please share the coastal landscaping resources that we’ve talked about share them on community listservs next door Facebook groups in person you can participate also in neighborhood native plant buys and sales or you could start one if you’re looking for a landscape designer or contractor find someone with a proven commitment to sustainable landscaping and once you find someone you like pay it forward by sharing the recommendation with your neighbors and certainly don’t forget to have fun and celebrate successful landscaping projects in your neighborhood and community you could get out an annual award for the most sustainable yard or green yard and what if you belong to a homeowners association you can help by reviewing covenants and promoting adoption of sustainable landscaping language also encourage your HOAs to include native plants on allowable plant lists now Kristy is going to launch the last poll this is where we’re going to find out just a little bit about your knowledge of these topics and whether this presentation has given you any ideas for new things you might want to do please go ahead and fill that out we are aware that the information we share today was a refresher for many of you and for others though you might have learned quite a bit so we’re hopeful to see that you can share this information with others

31 Mar 2021
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Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas For Your Yard


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