THE ‘LAWN’ in LAWNZENGARDEN
by Carole Schwalm
It is September and are you a little tired of mowing? I have good news for you; there are no-mow lawn mixes available, and now is the time to think about planting grass seed or buying grass plugs. Either way, there are eco-friendly grasses available. And, just as the advice goes about using the right tool for the job applies, you’ll enjoy greater success if you plant the right grass for your environment.
Buffalo grass grows in all types of soils. It is highly weed resistant. It tolerates low rainfall conditions and/or it only requires 2 inches of water a month to stay green (great if you are in a water-restricted area). If you have a sandy soil, Blue Gama grass seed is a better choice. If you live in the south southeast Prestige buffalo grass is recommended. If you are in coastal California or the desert SW, UC Verde buffalo grass is suggested. The remaining areas will get good results from Legacy buffalo grass.
For every ¼ acre of Kentucky Blue Grass you replace with buffalo grass, for example, you’ll save 250,000 gallons of water a year.
Still a blue grass fan? Bella Blue Grass is a variety that needs 30 percent less water and minimal fertilizer. It also works for shade and semi-shade conditions. Last but not least there is a fescue mix called ‘Low Work and Water,’ and that literally says it all.
THE ZEN OF ORNAMENTAL GRASSES
Graceful ornamental grasses add a lot to your landscaping, in rather a Zen way. They are ideal for corners of the yard or to soften sharp corners of the house (and that is a Feng Shui thing). The grasses work well with xeriscaping or with rock or pebble accents. Many of the grasses have feathery tops that move in the breeze.
The ornamental grasses make your yard or in containers on the patio, interesting through the fall and winter. There are also colorful varieties that, for instance, give you red fall foliage.
Care: Cut them back hard mid-spring. Remove dead stems, especially in the middle of the cluster so new shoots can push through. You invigorate plants if you divide them every 3-4 years. They resonate with compost and nitrogen.
Types: feather-seed grass, Schizchyrium or Blaze Little Blue Stem Grass. Elytrigia or Jose Select is yellow, is sturdy and stands up to snow, making it nice winter plant. Panicum or Cheyenne sky has red foliage and horsetail.
Share your experience with green lawn care or if you'd like more information.