Are you wasting time and money mowing your lawn? Did you know that grass is the largest irrigated crop in the country? In fact, American’s use 90 million pounds of fertilizer and 78 million pounds of pesticides every year to keep this non-native species thriving.
Fortunately, there are other options. Simply replace some of your grass with a native meadow, low-maintenance groundcover, flowerbeds, or even trees. With a meadow, you only mow it once every year in the late fall. With groundcover, you’d never mow it. Here are the steps to take to go low-mow or no-mow:
- Identify a region of your lawn rarely used for traffic or play. Maybe that’s your front or side lawns, or a border around your backyard.
- Remove grass in that region. For a small area, this can be done with a shovel. Grassroots are dense, but not deep. Alternatively, for larger areas smother the grass with cardboard or use clear plastic to solarize the area.
- Research native plants. Do you want a flowering meadow, simple groundcover, or bushes? Visit the extensive plant database of JerseyFriendlyYards.org to learn about these options and more.
- Shop for seeds or seedlings. The D&R Greenway Land Trust, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and Toadshade Wildflower Farm all offer periodic sales of New Jersey native plants. Wild Ridge Plants additionally offers to ship plants. Another option is to join FOHVOS to receive bulk pricing of native plants through their spring or fall orders.
Looking for more resources?
- The University of New Hampshire offers a fact sheet about how to establish a wildflower meadow from seed.
- The Xerces Society ‘s Habitat Installation Guide provides in-depth guidance on how to install and maintain habitat for pollinators in the form of wildflower meadow plantings or linear rows of native flowering shrubs.
Your yard is part of the local ecosystem. Thank you for considering ways to ensure you are sustainably caring for your portion of the Earth.