Did you know your lawn is an ecological desert? It's a monoculture of turf-grasses that are not native to North America. In fact, despite its name, Kentucky Bluegrass is not even native!
Not only that, but it does not provide any benefits to pollinators, small mammals, or birds.
Not to mention it's a time suck for homeowners. Mowing, trimming, watering, and other maintenance, can take up hours of time each week.
Owen Wormser, author of "Lawns into Meadows" writes about the resources spent on lawns, “This massive footprint makes lawns the biggest irrigated crop in the continental United States, and it sucks up an outsized amount of fossil fuels, fertilizer, chemicals, and water."
There is an ever-growing push to get rid of the typical lawn and instead replant it with native plants to form a meadow. This environment requires less upkeep, fewer resources, and provides more support for insects, birds, and small mammals.
Mr. Wormser follows up with, “With every year in the ground, meadow plants support more life and build healthier soil. This makes them quite efficient at parking carbon — just the opposite of a resource-guzzling lawn.”
So what benefits can you expect if you replace your lawn?
PERSONAL BENEFITS TO KILLING YOUR LAWN
You'll get back a ton of time and energy when you stop having to mow, trim, and water your yard. In the height of summer, you'll save at least a few hours per week!
Unlike lawns, meadows require minimal upkeep. You might only mow them once or twice a year to keep trees and bushes from taking over.
It takes about three years for the long roots of native plants to fully establish themselves but they only need water in the first season and rarely require replanting. This means your upfront work will benefit you for years to come.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS TO KILLING YOUR LAWN
Across the United States, over 7.9 billion gallons of water are used on landscapes each day. But native plants and meadows require much less water than a yard. You can save thousands of gallons of water a year by not having to water your lawn.
Lawns can be the cause of air, water, and land pollution through fertilizers, pesticides, and weed-killers. But if your whole plan is to grow native plants, you don't need any of those chemicals. In fact, you'll be encouraging "weeds" since those are mostly native to your area.
BIOLOGICAL BENEFITS TO KILLING YOUR LAWN
As mentioned above, lawns are an ecological desert. Meadows, on the other hand, support diverse communities, ranging from pollinators like butterflies and bees to vibrant soil life.
Meadows also provide shelter and food for small mammals and species of birds that nest in open grassland.
No Mow May is a movement to encourage people to refrain from mowing their lawn during May to help create habitats and food for early-season pollinators. This can be a great way to start the transition toward replacing your lawn with native species.
Turning your lawn into a meadow is a multi-year process and if not done right you can end up with a field of invasive species. If you need help with creating a space that attracts native plants, insects, birds, and animals, contact us here.