As many Americans have yet to discover, lawns need not be synonymous with grass. In fact, considering the grass plant’s dependence on frequent mowing, watering and fertilizing, it’s surprising that more Americans haven’t adopted alternative lawns. After discovering the benefits of many of the idyllic alternative lawns like clover, sedges and moss, you may want to pass on run-of-the-mill grass.
Sedges are closely related to grass in the plant kingdom. In fact, it may be difficult to discern the difference between a sedge lawn and traditional grass lawn. Compared to turfgrass, sedges require minimal mowing, fertilizer and maintenance. BBG.org says that five sedges are worthy substitutes of traditional grass lawns: California Meadow sedge, catlin sedge, Pennsylvania sedge and Texas Hill Country sedge. Most sedges are evergreen and have shown incredible prowess in adapting to various environments. Mow sedge lawns in spring to extinguish the freeze burn of winter.
Buffalograss is indeed grass, however, this native prairie plant requires minimal maintenance in comparison to its demanding counterpart. To increase its density and resilience, OrganicGardening.com advises landscapers to mix buffalograss with blue grama. To cut through a dense lawn, you’ll need a machine that’s up for the task; Popular Mechanics suggests Husqvarna mowers , specifically the 7021R for its unadulterated power.
OrganicGardening.com also suggests that planting clover seeds in spring, when temperatures don’t dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, is best. Also, keep the clover hydrated during the germination period. Clover will remain verdant and green in drought-ridden summers while simultaneously resisting pet urine, as EarthEasy.com states. Bad soil can’t even inhibit the determined growth of clover. Out of all the types of clover, the perennial Dutch White Clover suits lawns best. It’s relatively low growing and functions as a great re-seeder when it flowers from March to early May.
A blanket of deep green, fuzzy moss makes for a charming lawn. There are a multitude of different moss species that vary in texture and appearance. OrganicGardening.com recommends that you plant the moss in spring after the final frost. Press plugs of moss heavily into moist soil, and hydrate the moss with a light watering every day for a minimal three weeks. If your lawn is often cloaked in shade, planting low-growing sheet moss or fern moss is a wise choice. One downside of moss is that it isn’t resistant to heavy foot traffic or animals. Install stepping stones to keep the lawn in superb shape. It’s also possible that the lawn may take a year or so to completely fill in.
The many variations of thyme form dense, attractive groundcover under the sun. OrganicLawnCare101.com suggests using a blanket of thyme for pathways. Thyme species’ small leaf foliage varies from vivid green to bluish or lavender and makes for a vibrant alternative to grass.