Saturday, January 29
Most people, when they walk out onto their lawn or start the mower for a quick trim, are only concerned with having a neat green lawn to make their property look good. Most people never give a second thought to the fact that the grass is serving as a groundcover plant. A groundcover plant is any plant that is cultivated for the specific purpose of covering the ground and thereby reducing erosion, slowing water runoff, and improving soil quality.
Though most lawns are covered with some turf grass and an encouraging trend that is developing is the use of native grasses as a groundcover. Native grasses by their very nature are acclimated to the area in which they are grown. This means that in drought-prone areas the native grasses art apt to be drought tolerant varieties able to survive extreme heat. In colder climes, the native grasses will be of a type that will survive the hard freezes of winter and green-up quickly in springtime. Though many native kinds of grass don’t loan themselves very well to the ideal 2-inch tall well-manicured lawn, they are a definite boon to anyone who is environmentally conscious simply because they belong in the area they are usually cultivated in. Not only do native grasses provide excellent groundcover which is very tolerant of its environment, but they will also provide wildlife with food, shelter, and nesting material in a way that simply cannot be matched by the run of the mill turf varieties.
The choice for the home or landowner is simple, choose to sow the standard turf varieties of grasses and lose a potentially invasive species into the ecosystem, then spend hours and dollars attempting to make this species thrive in an environment that is was not designed for, or plant native grasses which will make the most of the environment and enrich the ecosystem.