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rain barrels

Q: I want to have a rain barrel to use for my rose garden. What should I do?

Q:  I want to have a rain barrel to use for my rose garden.  I am interested in saving water but I have heard that using water off the roof is a bad idea.  What should I do?

A:  If you are like most of us, you are concerned about water usage and the limited about of potable water available especially with increased commercial and residential growth.  Rain barrels are a wonderful solution for collecting water that would eventually go right down the street and into the retention ponds.  I have found many people expressing the same concern you have over water collected from roof tops.  There is some literature about the possible contamination from zinc, copper and tin into water from cedar, metal and asphalt roofs.  I was unable to locate any documentation regarding cumulative effects of water from roofs on plant growth. Obviously this water should not be used for human or animal consumption but there seems to be little concern over applying it to the roots of plants according to a publication from North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.