Category

Native Landscaping

Photo of Tradescantia virginiana L.

Plant Spotlight: Tradescantia gigantea

By Environmental Education and Interpretation, Native Landscaping

During our recent deep freeze and snowfall, most of our native plant species were able to survive, even as many exotic species perished. One early spring bloomer that survived during the freeze was giant spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea). Even though this perennial plant’s long, slender leaves were already apparent prior to the freeze, they came out nearly unscathed (some leaf tips experienced “freeze burn”). Now these survivors are displaying their three-petal…

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How to Choose Natives for a Resilient Landscape

By Native Landscaping

Appalled by the devastation wreaked on your plants by the Valentine’s freeze?  Before you run out to replace your “native” plants, here are a few excellent resources for determining what plants are truly native, and dramatically increase the survivability of your landscape.  Texas is a big state with over 3,000 native plant species.  With the ever-increasing popularity of planting native, big box stores have jumped on the bandwagon and frequently add “Texas native” to labeling.  But “Texas native”…

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Harvest and Use of Native Seed in the Garden and in Restoration

By Ecological Restoration, Environmental Education and Interpretation, Native Landscaping

ESC Ecologist, David Mahler’s presentation, Harvest and Use of Native Seed in the Garden and in Restoration, originally preseted at the online chapter meeting of Native Plant Society of Texas, San Antonio is now available for your (FREE) viewing pleasure.  Learn how to ethically and effectively harvest seeds, as learned by Mahler in his decades of restoration work at Spicewood Ranch.

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Natural Pool

A Natural Swimming Pool

By Native Landscaping, Naturalistic Hardscape, Ponds and Streams

A natural swimming pool is constructed so water is clarified and treated by wetland plants rather than chemicals and UV lights. While Europeans have decades of experience with these pools, they are just starting to become popular in the United States. ESC has recently melded its decades of experience with created wetlands for urban runoff treatment with construction of traditional swimming pools and natural fish ponds, using natural Hill Country…

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Plants and Phytoremediation

By Ecological Restoration, Environmental Education and Interpretation, Native Landscaping, Ponds and Streams

Plants and Phytoremediation Unlike raingardens, wet ponds are designed to capture and hold runoff from impervious cover.  Urban runoff can carry pollutants such as gasoline, motor oil, heavy metals, fertilizers, pesticides, aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead, synthetic organic compounds, zinc nitrates and phosphorus.  Phytoremediation is the use of plants for cleaning up contaminants in soil, groundwater, surface water and air. Fortunately, the plant communities  ESC establishes and…

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Rain Garden

Green Infrastructure for Your Yard

By Ecological Restoration, Environmental Education and Interpretation, Native Landscaping, Ponds and Streams, Water Quality

Green Infrastructure for Your Yard With increasing pressure to better handle flood events and improve water quality, many municipalities (including the City of Austin) are implementing measures to slow down, retain, and treat stormwater on-site, allowing it to permeate into the groundwater while carrying less runoff pollution. The methods for accomplishing this are collectively known as green infrastructure. While cities are funding these projects with public money and installing them…

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Oak Springs Restoration

Daylighting and Restoring an Urban Creek at Oak Springs

By Ecological Restoration, Native Landscaping, Ponds and Streams, Water Quality

ESC Completes Two Year Program Daylighting and Restoring Urban Creek at Oak Springs In late 2016, ESC completed the restoration of a creek that had been previously capped off and channeled underground.  Existing vegetation was limited to exotic turfgrass and other quick-cover species. ESC’s restoration work was performed in conjunction with the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department. The site, at the  corner of Tillery St. and Oak Springs Dr.,…

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ESC Water Quality Projects

By Ecological Restoration, Native Landscaping, Parks and Preserves, Ponds and Streams, Water Quality

ESC Leading Numerous Water Quality Projects in Austin’s Urban Core Over the past three years Environmental Survey Consulting (ESC) has engaged in numerous projects along Lady Bird Lake and contributing creeks, all of which serve to stabilize vulnerable riparian slopes, catch and treat runoff from impervious cover, and slow down and dissipate storm flows to reduce flood severity. By using the principles of ecological restoration on these projects, ESC is…

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Palatabilty Ranking of Texas Native Plant Species for Deer

By Ecological Restoration, Environmental Education and Interpretation, Native Landscaping

A Palatability Ranking of Central Texas Hill Country Forb and Woody Plant Species for White-Tailed Deer David Mahler has ranked central Texas hill country forb and woody native plant species on their ability to survive white-tailed deer browse pressure. Species ranked 1 can survive under very high browse conditions while species ranked 5 can only survive under very low browse conditions or in protected areas. As an interesting note, some…

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