Low-maintenance, environmentally friendly native grasses are perfect for your lawn or gardens
Have you ever stopped to admire the delicate, waving fronds of native grasses in a neighbor’s gardens? Or considered the unusual and arresting seed-heads of a bright colored fall grass, standing tall among wildflowers? Did you know you can replace your turf lawn with a native lawn, and significantly reduce water use, maintenance, and environmental impact? Read on to learn more about these grasses, their uses, and their benefits.
What are native plants?
According to the National Wildlife Federation, “a plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.”
Native plants will thrive in their natural landscape. They usually require less water than introduced species and have evolved resistance to pests, disease, and fungi.
These grasses assist in soil health and can help with water run-off. They have deep, complex root systems that can combat erosion.
And because they are part of the original landscape of a region (native is often defined as pre-European settlement), they are an important part of the ecosystem and provide habitat for pollinators, small mammals, and songbirds.
Sound like the perfect plants for your yard or gardens? Establishing native grasses requires planning, soil preparation, and maintenance. Reach out to the landscaping professionals at Mahoney Associates today, (631)287-7666.
Types of native grasses
Generally, native grasses require very little maintenance and do well in a variety of soils. But they have a range of heights, textures, and colors. With so much variety to consider, it’s helpful to group them into two primary classifications: warm and cool-season grasses.
Warm and cool-season grasses
Warm-season grasses thrive in temperatures around 85-95 degrees and get green in the summer. They go dormant and brown in the winter, but they retain their shape and many people enjoy them year-round.
Cool-Season grasses mature early in the growing season and are green spring through fall. They grow greenest with temperatures in the 65-75 degree range and may require more watering when temperatures exceed that.
Warm and cool-season grasses include both ornamental and low-growing varieties that invite foot traffic and can be used in place of turf. In fact, some people are opting to replace their lawns with native grasses.
Non-native turf lawns can require heavy watering and mowing and sometimes pesticides and fertilizers, whereas native grasses generally will not. Native lawns also provide wildlife habitat and other ecological benefits.
Some dense bunch grasses can be planted close together for an ornamental lawn. But a high-traffic yard may be better suited to varieties that grow together to form a dense sod. When considering a native lawn, the way you will use the area is an important part of what grasses will work for you.
Native lawns are often grown from a seed mix of several varieties. You can read more about native lawns here.
Advantages of native grasses
Native grasses can look stunning in ornamental gardens with wildflowers or other native plants. Native lawns are interesting and low-maintenance. But there are many other advantages to using native grasses in your landscaping.
Their deep root systems can:
- Support soil stabilization
- Provide erosion control
- Replenish soil fertility
Grasses can provide beautiful natural borders and contours while attracting pollinators, butterflies, and songbirds.
Native plants have a natural resistance to pests, provide wildlife habitat and offer reduced maintenance, water use, and need for fertilizers. They are hardy, drought-resistant plants, and their dense leaves keep out weeds.
Native grasses may be the perfect addition to your yard and gardens. But there are many species with different requirements. You need knowledgeable help selecting and establishing them in your landscaping. Contact Mahoney Associates today by calling us at (631)287-7666.