FAIRMONT - Implementing a sustainable landscape is increasingly important, especially in a drought. But what, exactly, does a sustainable landscape look like, and how do businesses, municipalities and homeowners create them.
Fred Rozumalski, a horticulturist, ecologist and landscape architect at Barr Engineering, will hold workshops to address these questions over the next two weeks.
From 12:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Martin County Library, Rozumalski will talk to landscape professionals, real estate agents, business managers, city and county employees, and grounds maintenance workers. At 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the library, he will present the same information on a smaller scale to homeowners. The homeowner session also will cover lakeshore information.
"We are focusing on the capture of stormwater to protect your lakes," he said, adding that there will be discussion on appropriate plants and soil types. "Instead of stormwater being a waste product, how do we capture it and use it?"
Capturing stormwater is more than just installing rain barrels. Rozumalski will outline how soil types alter water retention, and discuss installing rain gardens in what is becoming a new normal climate.
"Climate change is upon us - we swing from super wet to super dry," he said. "How do we landscape in the face of that?"
Rozumalski said landscaping has changed as climate change has made for crazy weather, but homeowners and businesses still want neat, tidy lawns with minimal maintenance.
"People find native plants unattractive and difficult to take care of," he said. "Native plants seed themselves and people find it difficult to know what is a plant and what is a weed. Midwesterners want a neat and tidy landscape.... We want the benefits of native grasses in a neat and tidy way."
Creating a greener landscape also makes sense financially.
"Water is expensive," he said, "so why pay for city water? Capture what [stormwater] you can."
Martin Soil and Water Conservation District received a grant to cover most of the cost of the workshop.
Cathy Thiesse, of the Soil and Water district, said Rozumalski is an engaging speaker who was involved with the nationally significant Burnsville Rainwater Gardens project. The project reduced runoff rates by 90 percent into Crystal Lake through rain gardens in adjoining neighborhoods.
The cost to attend either workshop is $10. RSVP to Martin Soil and Water Conservation District office at (507) 235-6680.