How you take care of a landscape over time. It is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a strategy to improve your lot. Landscapes are dynamic—they grow and change over time. Maintenance is the way you create a landscape—you build it once, and then maintain it forever.
A field habitat of mostly grasses in open, sunny conditions. Meadows have many ecological benefits- they are dense neighborhoods for plants (including wildflowers) and pollinators. Meadows that are grown from seed take a few years to establish. Once they are established a meadow can be a good, lower-maintenance option for a lot with a dynamic range colors (flowers and grasses) and visitors (pollinators) throughout the year.
Five to ten years.
A Mixed Green Lot is a lot with a little bit of everything—grasses, trees, maybe some remnant shrubs or even a mound or two. If you are looking to re-plant the majority of the lot’s surface area, the Mixed Green lot requires a greater amount of site preparation than most of the lot types, mostly because there are young woody plants like trees and shrubs growing within your lot, which will be more difficult to remove than just grasses alone. While it is possible that you will manage your Mixed Green Lot into a Forest Patch, it will take a long time horizon for this to occur, as the woody growth on this lot type is quite young. The Field Guide recommends preserving healthy large trees on every lot, even if it means making adjustments to the lot design you are considering.
A Mounded Lot is a lot with mounds or piles of debris exceeding three feet in height. These mounds can be made of soil, sand, rocks or mixed construction debris. The most common mounds in Detroit are from the illegal disposal of demolition debris. Mounded lots take a bit of extra effort to ‘Clean and Green’, especially if you are working with hand tools only. Whether the mounds are rocks or waste materials like old appliances, tires or mechanical parts, cleaning up a mounded lot will do a lot for your block. If you see something suspicious related to a demolition, please call (888)-DET-DEMO.
Mycorrhizae are a symbiotic network of fungi and plant roots. They are a low-input biological approach to improving and stimulating soil health. The plants and the fungi have a positive relationship: the plant performs photosynthesis, and the fungi, or micorrhizae handle the underground nutrition gathering (like minerals and water from the soil), while protecting a plants’ root system. The fungi extends the reach of the plants’ root system, enabling the plant to gather more water and also more nutrients. The plant extends the reach of the fungi to above ground, enabling access to a greater range of nutrients. Nearly all plants on earth rely on mycorrhizal fungi for nutrients and for moisture. A growing body of research over the last 10 years has shown that mycorrhizal amendments (or fungal inoculations) create plants that are more self sufficient, and actually improves the health of soil year to year, rather than requiring annual or seasonal replenishment.
Native plants are species of plants that lived in Michigan, or Detroit, at some point in the past. Native plants generally have deeper roots, and are better for the health of your soil than plants with shallower roots. Looking to the past for answers can be helpful, but remember: 300 years ago, Detroit was a swamp. If we all planted swamp-plants in our yards right now, they might not be very happy. The Field Guide advocates for planting urban-tolerant species, or plants that are well adapted and suited to living in your neighborhood today. This includes native plants, but does not exclude our non-native, but urban-tolerant plant friends.
Swapping the investment of time and hard work for an investment of dollars.
Vibrant mixed-use environments that are centers for commercial, community, and recreational activities for adjacent residential areas. These neighborhoods incorporate a limited mix of commercial employment and retail uses, and support a diverse range of housing types including multi-family apartments, town homes and detached single-family homes.
The mineral element most demanded by plants! Certain plants, specifically, legumes, actually ADD nitrogen to the soil just by growing in the soil. This is why some farmers plant cover crops—to restore some of these nutrients and ensure the health of their soil.
Many introduced species of plants (i.e. ‘non-native’) adapt well to new locations and environments but do not aggressively out-perform existing local species. These species are matched to their new locations, even though they are not ‘native’ plants. There are many wonderful plants that are urban-tolerant and which do well in Detroit, and are neither native nor invasive.