Stormwater Management

Poster Presentation

Wildflower Growth Response to Construction Site Soil Conditions

Tuesday, February 13
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM


Level of Presentation: All: Suitable for a broad audience

In response increasing interest in using wildflowers to infiltrate stormwater, we studied how the growth of three wildflower species differed among varying construction site soil conditions.The results will help understand how they can function in a stormwater mitigation system.

Authors: Abigail Haselton, S. H. Alshraah, D. S. Carley, R. A. McLaughlin, J. L. Heitman
Reducing the impact of stormwater runoff from roads, roofs, and other impervious surfaces is often achieved through detention basins, constructed wetlands, and similar practices. Another option is to route runoff into vegetated areas to infiltrate at least a portion of the water. While roads are often bordered by grassed areas, there has been increased interest in planting wildflowers in some of those areas as pollinator habitat and for aesthetic appeal. The effect of soil condition on wildflower growth, and conversely, the effect of wildflowers on infiltration into soil, was the subject of this study.
Three wildflower species, California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolate), and Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculate), were tested in a greenhouse experiment to determine how their growth responded to compaction. Pots were filled with a sandy loam subsoil, similar to soils found along North Carolina roadsides, and compacted to bulk densities of 1.15 g/m and 1.35 g/m. The plants were started from seed and harvested on two dates: a common date for all species (39 days) and a second date corresponding to reproductive maturity for each species (75-118 days). At harvest, all above ground and below ground plant parts were collected separately. For comparison, the same plants were also grown in a potting soil mix as an "ideal" condition for growth. Preliminary results indicated that increased bulk density had a slightly positive influence on shoot and root dry mass. Surprisingly, the plants grew more vigorously in the soil than in the potting mix.

Learning Objectives:

Target Audience: Academic,Developer/Builder,Landscape,Storm Water

Abigail Haselton

Graduate Research Assistant
North Carolina State University

Abigail Haselton, from Raleigh, N.C., is currently pursuing her Masters of Science at NC State. She is in the Crop and Soil Science department, where she also received her undergraduate degree in Agroecology. With this background, she hopes to work in the community educating the public about current environmental and agricultural issues.

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Wildflower Growth Response to Construction Site Soil Conditions

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