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Green Infrastructure Maintenance 

Rain gardens, bioswales, native planting and other green infrastructure are great ways to help protect the Wabash River and enhance the environment. After these practices are installed, they do need periodic maintenance to maximize their efficiency.

Rain Barrel Maintenance 

Rain barrels are easy to install and require little maintenance. 


March/April: Install rain barrel or reconnect rain barrel to diverter. 

Installation Guide 


  • As needed : remove any leaves, twigs or other debris from the top of the rain barrel 
  • Clean inside of rain barrel to remove any algae growth. Can use vinegar solution or castor soap. 
  • Check fittings to ensure there is no leaking 


  • Disconnect rain barrel from diverter
  • Drain and clean out 
  • store inside if possible, otherwise flip upside down and open spigot to prevent any water from freezing inside

Winterization Guide 

If you have soaker hoses, ensure they are working properly and are not clogged. One way to unclog them is to use a hose with high pressure to clear them out. 

Additional Rain Barrel Info


Rain Garden/Bioswale Maintenance 

Native Plants in rain gardens and bioswales are resistant to the Indiana climate and require no fertilizers or other chemicals, these practices still need to be maintained so that the native plants can flourish and absorb stormwater. 


  • Add new plants to garden. 
  • Re-Mulch if needed. Most gardens incorporate a 3" layer of hardwood shredded mulch which helps keep weeds out while retaining moisture.
  • Start weeding. Weeding is crucial early in the season. Gardens should be weeded about once a week to prevent the weeds from establishing. 
  • Learn to recognize which plants should be in your garden and which ones should not 
  • If the project was just installed, if there is no rain water your garden 1-2 times a week. 

Weed Identification Guide



  • Weed garden once a week. 
  • Rain gardens and bioswales do not need to be watered unless the plants were just planted this year. If conditions are very dry, water as needed. 


  • Leaves can be left in garden, they will break down into soil if left over winter. 
  • If you want to clean your garden a bit, cut plants down to about 6 inches. 

Weeding Tips:

  • Learn to recognize your plants. By being able to identify your native plants, you will know which plants to not pull out.  
  • When removing weeds, use a trowel. All roots of the weed need to be removed to prevent them from growing back. 
  • Weed after it has rained, moist soil makes it easier to pull out entire roots.
  • Start early in the season to prevent weeds from taking over the garden. 
  • Pull weeds before they start to seed.

Rain Garden Installation Guide