After six years of planning and fundraising, the Moross Greenway Project became a reality this past October when the volunteer organization held a groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of planting the seven island beds on Moross Road between St. John Hospital and the I-94 service drive that make up the Project.
Implementation began on the 95-foot medians that have been dominated by turf for more than 100 years. Island construction uncovered a unique situation that has provided a real challenge to keeping the plant material alive and healthy. A perched water table was discovered under the top layer of soil on the islands. This is an accumulation of groundwater trapped above the soil layer that is impermeable, but below the surface of the turf. This extensive below-ground soil compaction restricted natural drainage throughout the medians and led to standing water on the islands during the winter and spring months. Some of the newly planted material suffered from having “wet feet” for an extended period.
After consultation with experts in the field and reviewing several proposals, it was determined that raising the planting beds to a height of 18-24 inches is the optimal remediation approach. A planting mix of 2076 cubic yards of sand, compost and topsoil has been delivered to the islands. The process of re-grading the beds has begun. Trees, shrubs and perennials are being removed from the beds, and “heeled in” for replanting. Those plants that didn’t survive the standing water will be replaced. New shrubs and trees that were not available last fall from area nurseries will be planted. Completion of an irrigation system that was started last fall will ensure adequate moisture levels during the current and future droughts. It is planned that irrigation will be reduced in about three years’ time, as the plants become established and are strong enough to sustain themselves.
Too much water! A spring drought! All in just six months! These are the toughest challenges for any seasoned gardener. The Moross Greenway Project is up to the challenge of creating a beautiful, welcoming and sustainable Greenway for all the motorists, workers and residents who travel the thoroughfare.