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Jul  2015

15

Rethink the lawn

While record numbers of Californians are ripping out their lawns due to extreme drought, here in Minnesota our lawns are lusher than ever, with rain after rain rolling through.

Still, the chances are good that you’re already tired of mowing that turf grass — and summer has barely begun.

You’re not alone if you’re in no mood to mow. Many homeowners are rethinking the lawn, for a multitude of reasons. In addition to those precious summer minutes spent cutting the grass, consider what you put into maintaining the perfect lawn, from fossil fuels and fertilizer to weedkillers and pest control. And don’t forget the nerve-grating noise on Saturday mornings.

Think past pachysandra and periwinkle, and you’ll find lots of attractive alternatives to traditional turf. If you want the ground-hugging, uniform look of a lawn yet also some “step-ability,” consider a number of low-growing, creeping perennials rather than standard groundcovers.

When planting large numbers of one species, pay attention to spacing. If you’re patient, you can divide and multiply your plants for free the following year, without having to break the bank, although most of these species do spread fairly quickly. Unlike turf lawns, these plants are able to endure periods of low water, once established, so you can adjust or turn off the sprinklers. However, all do require good drainage to thrive.

With the following choices, you get a bonus of seasonal blooms, so of course you’ll want to tread lightly during flowering. But that’s another plus — these lawn substitutes offer something for pollinators that lawns can’t.

(full article in StarTribune)

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