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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Prevent Water Damage by Celebrating Earth Day All Year Round

4/23/2021 (Permalink)

A chart that shows the short root system of non-natives in comparison to the long root system of native plants Root systems of Non-Native vs. Native Mid-Atlantic Plants. Source- Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

We all know the most common causes of water damage: broken pipes or hoses, sewer backups, basement moisture, accidents, and weather. Did you know that in some cases, water damage could be caused by your lawn? In Honor of Earth Day, we wanted to explain how planting native flowers and grasses can help the environment and your house! 

A Brief History of the Lawn

According to Planetnatural.com, lawns were originally open areas in the woods where villagers could take their farm animals out to pasture. These areas weren’t popularized as lawns until 16th Century Europe. Even then, it was only the wealthy who could afford their upkeep. 

When Northern Europeans immigrated to America, one of the things they brought with them was grass seed. Sometimes this was done on purpose. Sometimes it was introduced by accident, either by sticking on a person’s clothes or stowing away on shipping containers. Many non-native plants, bugs, and animals were and still are introduced this way. 

Why It Matters

For many households, the ideal lawn is free of weeds like crabgrass and dandelions. This is called a monoculture. While it looks nice, the lack of diversity does no favors to the soil in your yard. To begin with, these often non-native grasses have a small root system. The root system is then weakened even further by regularly cutting it short.  

These short root systems make your soil compact. In the Ohio River Valley, that can be a huge issue.  The University of Minnesota explains “compacted soil has a reduced rate of both water infiltration and drainage.” If you don’t have a good drainage system in your yard, the water will find the path of least resistance. If you have any cracks in your foundation, that path could lead right inside your home. 

This is one of the reasons The National Wildlife Federation encourages Americans to garden with native plants. Native flowers and grasses have deep healthy root systems. When planted around your house they help the soil become more porous. This allows rainwater and snowmelt to be absorbed into the ground. The more water that is absorbed by the soil means less water intrusion into your beautiful finished basement. 

By planting native flowers and grasses you’re helping more than just yourself you’re also helping the environment. Deep roots can work as a natural filtration system. This means cleaner water for us as fewer toxins make it into our watersheds. You can look at the EPA’s website for more information and a fun experiment with your kids.  

By planting native flowers and grasses in your yard, you’re potentially preventing water damage. That alone can save you thousands of dollars and the headache of an insurance claim. You’re also helping out your local ecosystem. The bugs, the birds, and the local wildlife relies on native flowers and grasses to survive.     

If your house is having issues with water intrusion, we suggest seeking the help of a professional. They will be able to tell you exactly where the leak is coming from. If you have compact soil planting a few native flowers and grasses may just be the solution you need.

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