Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stormwater and Arboriculture - Cypress Landscapes for Stormwater Ponds, Habitat, Traffic and more!

Stormwater Landscaping with Cypress Trees
Stormwater ponds function better with appropriate landscapes such as the cypress trees depicted in the photo to the left.

Many here in Florida argue that stormwater ponds should be free and clear of vegetation.  Some of their arguments include lines of reasoning such as;
  • Stormwater ponds are polluted and plants attract wildlife that in turn could be harmed by the polluted water
  • However regardless of plants or no plants, wildlife come to stormwater ponds anyway
  • Here in Florida woodstorks and sandhill cranes are often seen fishing around stormwater ponds
Importantly, plants around stormwater ponds help clean the stormwater and provide a host of other benefits.

Cypress, Taxodium spp., is especially a good tree to plant around stormwater facilities.

Reasons I choose Cypress as the number one Florida Stormwater species are;

  • Cypress is a native Florida plant
  • Cypress has a low leaf litter rate - THIS IS IMPORTANT
    • other wetland species native to Florida, such as Blackgum, Nyssa spp. contribute enormous amounts of leaf litter to the stormwater pond, rapidly filling up the volume and requiring significant maintenance
  • Cypress provides important habitat for wildlife including - 
    • Communal habitat, and
    • Foraging habitat
  • Cypress can be pruned easily for safety
    • Refer to the above photo of the stormwater pond adjacent a heavily traveled intersection.
    • The lower limbs of the Cypress can be pruned high enough to allow drivers to possess a safe range of view and see automobiles approaching in other directions.
  • Cypress tolerates drought - long periods once established
  • Cypress tolerates innundation
  • Cypress grows well in modular wetlands
  • Cypress contributes towards volume recovery - did you know the Florida water management districts allow for recovery efficiencies from evapotranspiration?  See Chapter 40C-42 SJRWMD and others.
All in all - Cypress is the best plant for sustainable stormwater systems in Florida!


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