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Where the Grass Really is Greener
What was just 6 months ago a new construction site is now a peaceful escape at the new Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. The pond fountains are up and running, walkers are using the new paths around the campus, our historical statuary is in place outside and birds can be heard singing. But the most noticeable difference? All the green! Creating new landscaping across the 90 acres of your new hospital was no small feat. And not only is the new campus easy on the eyes – it’s easy on the environment. The grasses, plants and wildflowers you see out the windows of our hospital are all part of Native Planting, a concept that uses plants that were growing naturally in an area before humans introduced species from distant areas. In short, the campus was never supposed to look like the rolling fairways of a golf course. The goal was to recreate a prairie environment to resemble what was in place here hundreds of years ago. While everything has not quite filled in – it takes up to two years for this landscaping to take hold – this concept will benefit our area for years to come. Water Efficiency Native plants have a deep root structure. As a result, they generally require little or no irrigation once established. In comparison, turf grass has a root system 2 to 3 inches deep and requires frequent, intensive irrigation. Rain Water Management Native plants have a high capacity for rainwater uptake and infiltration, enabling areas to effectively manage storm water flows on sight and keep the water out of the sewer system. Their root system creates a matrix of soil that readily absorbs water deep underground. Carbon Sequestration & Climate Regulation Native plants naturally pull carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their living biomass both above and below ground. When their roots die off, this material decomposes below the surface and enriches the soil in the process. Additionally, native ecosystems naturally cool the local climate. Reduced Toxins Native plantings resist pests and disease, which limits the need for chemical pesticide or herbicide treatments. The result is a healthy habitat for pollinators, butterflies, birds, amphibians and other wildlife. Low-Cost Maintenance Native plant systems generally do not require mowing or regular maintenance, and as a result reduce the energy, manpower and equipment needs associated with maintenance. This will generate tens of thousands of dollars in cost savings and further reduce the carbon footprint of a site.

Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center  |  5215 Holy Cross Parkway, Mishawaka, IN 46545  |  574-335-5000

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