Eco-Friendly Native Grass Lawns

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Bugbee
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Grow a mixed native grass lawn to get more lushness and weed resistance than you’re used to seeing in your traditional lawn. Ecologists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center conducted a study aiming to develop a low-maintenance but aesthetically pleasing lawn to save water and power. This is beoming more and more necessary, as currently 800 million gallons of gasoline, $5.2 billion of fossil-fuel derived fertilizers and $700 in pesticides go to maintaining single-species turf lawns. These numbers will only increase if action is not taken.

The Center’s study compared a single-species Bermuda grass lawn and a single-species buffalo grass lawn to a mixed native turf lawn, only to find that the mixed native turf needs less maintenance and water than its all-Bermuda grass and all-buffalo grass counterparts. The mixed lawn also keeps out weeds better and has more foot traffic resistance. All of these advantages translate to more time and money saved, plus less strain on the environment.

How soon lawns benefit from the findings depends on when native grasses become commercially available. Suitable combinations of grass vary by region — certain blends will do better in certain areas. The exciting news? You can expect to have a beautiful lawn in the future without putting in excessive time or money.

Photo Credit: Fotolia