Story, Part I - When I moved in to my present home the front yard was just that, a yard divided by a poured cement path dividing it in half. The path lead to an unused front door stoop/porch. More on that story later.
Back to the yard: The first summer I faithfully watered and watered and watered and mowed. The lawn failed to thrive but didn't die. That fall I decided to 'do in' the far side of the lawn and create a yard size swoop of a garden, so I covered it with black plastic for the winter. Come spring I skimmed off the dead grass and planted my border and curved borders with seep hose watering.
Altho it has become so shaded that the plants need re-thinking the garden on that side was a satisfying solution.
Now on to the other funnier story. The lawn that was visible on approach to the house and the side door that does get used failed to thrive. I began to actually get angry that with all that water here in the desert it should be thankful and green... there were patches going yellow brown
Long about then as I was trying to build and plant the South Border garden I ran into critter problem. Some thing was digging under the chain link and coming up in the middle of my newly planted perennials - war was on.
I filled the hole and covered with a large flat rock. He used the rock as a tunnel ceiling and came up even further into my flower bed. I filled the hole with a big round rock. He moved over ten inches. Now you understand, I still hadn't seen the culprit.
About 5-6 nites into this farce I hear a rustling of leaves thru the screen door. Ah-ha! I'm on my feet, swinging the door open, stepping out and switching on the outside light all in one swift motion.
...yep and I spun around back into the house and shut both screen and solid door just as fast.
Boy he was a solid specimen of black and white with a magnificent tail.. Thru the window and the next rooms window and finally to the front kitchen window I watched his progress. Didn't actually seem interested in uprooting my plants... Ah ha That big old skunk was rooting around those brown patches in the lawn.
GRUBS - on top of not growing well on all the care I gave it now the LAWN had grubs. Did I menton I also did the regulation feeding?
This was the most ungrateful lawn. I've had lawns at other places in Moab. So I made a deal with the skunk he could tear up the lawn and get rid of the grubs and I'd figure something else out. I quit plugging his hole and gave him space. ooops someone at the door
The lawn began to look really sad what with lack of care from me and the intensive care of the skunk. I'd arranged with the local lawn mowing guy to get his truck load of clippings every other week and noticed him glancing askance at my lawn.
Finally he gently allowed as how he could fix the problem with my grass. And I said: "Thanks, but I've got it all worked out with a skunk" LOL shoulda seen his face.
I took to watering only the semi circle of lawn around my peach tree [it's how I water the peach] and let the rest of the grassy lawn just die. My son stopped by and asked what I was doing with the front yard and I told him I was letting it become part of the desert. He said: "Well, look like it's working."
This year I had an early crop of mustard - not to be allowed in another season/ bad mustard bad/.. then a few yellow bee balm showed up and bloomed most of the summer and there were about a dozen volunteer native sunflowers. oh yeah and a few salsify puffapuffas - which did get to seed.
I've placed a few large flat rock and have thoughts of a twisted path with plants growing near these and other to-be rocks as we do find here. I've planted a wormwood to give the appearance of a native sage without the size they get to be.
I plan to pick native or near native plants and keep the sparse look of a space of more zen with the area than my country cottage border.
So Now I have NO LAWN and nature keeps filling the vaccuum. Big Smiles here. And that's the story about the end of my lawn and the waste of all that water. Sort of a shaggy lawn story. ;)
Oh, I forgot to say that the Skunk whom I called Wilbur departed my yard the very minute he had taken care of the grub problem. I did get an occasional whiff of his presence when he would greet the dogs in the neighborhood.
Good for you Blooms! I'm still in the thinkin' stage. Thinkin' about how I will pull this off. Around these parts there is too much precip for a sparse native plant community to come back. I have a small strip that I have left alone. It is coming back to the original mixed tall grass prarie. Which is cool but, probably would not go over well with the neighbors. I will need to think this out.
The lawn mower is broken and I do not want to repair it!
Just a dadblasted shame, that you didn't give any thought to snappin' his mug shot! (or, did you ?) .. Ya haint holdin' out on us, now are ye? ...
The Sony FD-71, I had several years ago, could shoot some pretty good nite shots. However, as I'm sure you well know .. one does need to get relatively close to your subject. And now that I think about it a bit more: that .. may not have been in your best interests ... lol
Sounds like you had yaseff one fine lil adventure. And the skunk had an even better one! (apparently!) Good thing, you left him be .. for he was doing your lawn mitey good indeed! Besides, it 'sounds' like you came mitey close to 'instinkgating' a face-off .. (wellll, it'd been the opposing end actually!) hee
The lil voles (or moles, I'm not really sure which) actually did/do our ol clay fill dirt in our yard, a world of good. They actually loosen and aerate the stuff ... And our grass finally took off here. Just have to go out on occasion, to stomp the mounded rows of soil back down. Especially before we run the mower over the yard ..
We know there are skunks here also. Gosh dog, we see them as road kill most everywhere! We've been able to tell (make that, 'smell') that ol P'nut has come within somewhat close proximity of 'em on an occasion or two .. when we turn him loose, to run a bit! The first year in our home here .. with such tall front and back porches, on the eastern side - my ultimately biggest fear, was having P'nut to get in a tangle with a skunk .. right under the front porch. This is where our bedroom sliding glass doors are, and of which we sleep with them open .. about 10 months out of the year! So you can imagine my genuine concern. I guess now that I've said it .. and as 'Murphys Law' dictates - it'll fer sure 'happen' now! ... hee hee ..
I know you've said in another thread or two elsewhere here on DG - I do remember you said you'd lived in New York(?) I think it was - but don't remember if you've ever stated how long you've been there in Utah. And nosey here .. wonders what you brought you West ? Only if'n ya don't mind my being so dadblamed nosey .. hee
Truly enjoyed your skunk and grub 'tale' immensely. Know you've surely got more tales you could share too ... Get 'em worked up, and ready to post for provision to our reading enjoyment also ... Your 'dead lawn society' and any otherwise.
We's is ready for some more 'ear' fillin' Blooms .. and some imaginative visual promptin' to boot!
(and dubble check fer any pitters of that skunker too .. that ya jes may have fergotten about havin') .. hee hee
Can I join? Does anyone need Live Oak seedlings? This is one of the things I might want to salvage before my final assault on the last grass.
John, does the short curly prarie grass not grow in your part of Texas? I was amazed to see how it covers miles of West Texas red clay outside of Borger.
Count me in as a member, along with my friend Equilibrium! I dislike lawn! I dig up more and more of it every year. I "replant" the grubs I dig up, for possible skunk food.
We have a dearth of skunks here, and they are becoming a threatened species...I was driving down my road one night when, out of nowhere, I saw a small black kitten by the shoulder of the road. Of course I stopped. I keep a towel in my car just in case.
I grabbed the towel, and ran across traffic to rescue this poor kitty. This poor kitty also had white stripes on it's back. It didn't register until I was 2 feet from the kitty. ooooooooooh! Still I went on...ok, baby skunk...skunks are rare in our area. Then, simultaneously, I remembered...baby skunks are fully armed! GAAAAH! Shooe'd the kitty far off the road, very cautiously.
Long may he/she wave and grub people's lawns! April
Sugarweed, Is Live Oak a thirsty plant? Native to Texas, or some parts of Texas? Short curly prairie grass sounds interesting. But for now i'm looking for the sparsely planted look. I think it's buffalo grass folks around here are planting for the little water, little care green lawn/ meadow look.
I've always carved gardens out of lawns, this is the first time I've been the cause of one's demise.
Well, Blooms, being I'm less than 10 miles from the Atlantic and the big Live Oaks are loaded with spanish moss, they probably won't fare well in Moab, UT. I'm just a native of Texas, but do believe they live there down close to the gulf coast.
I did gather some Mesquite beans while in Texas, they will grow most anywhere. They can grow to a 12' tree/bush without water. That is the only reason anyone with any sense wood cook with mesquite, not for its ugh flavor, but that or cow patties were all there was to burn on cattle drives.
We have had years of drought here in Jacksonville. Water is very expensive. I use "Whole Earth WATER-SAVER" super absorbent water crystals. They absorb 200x their weight and then let the roots take water as they need it. My yard is 90* sand, so the water rushes through even when it rains or I water. Things planted with this do better and more with the water they get.
Here's a neighboring Live Oak.
Shucks I knew I couldn't have one. We have cottonwoods that are old enough to reach that size but not many.
And I'm a dedicated user of those water crystal beads. They're a definite plus here as I also garden in pure blow sand so anything I can put in to slow the water down as it goes by is good. Those goobers are the greatest.
Great pic, can feel the largeness and shelter of it.
Blooms, your skunk story is fun. So sorry you had nothing else for it to eat. I like those little buggers hanging around here. Mine doesn't even go off any more when we have encounters. He/she does his/her thing and I do mine. I have grown rather fond of my skunkster.
Ahhh... live oaks are magnificent. Here's a link for anyone interested- http://www.louisianagardenclubs.org/pages/oak.htm
Coleen is a wonderful lady and if you happen to have any decent sized live oaks, it might be in your best interests to register them.
Dodecatheon definitely should qualify as a member of the Dead Lawn Society. She's doing a bang up job eliminating lawn in her back yard and already created an entire prairie. By my best estimate, I figure her entire lawn out back will be gone within about 5 years and she started reducing in her front yard too. You can spot her yard the moment you enter her subdivision as it is the only yard that has any personality. All kinds of goodies and surprises await those who drive by.
For me, next year is when I start my reduction. I'm going for about a fifth of an acre. I'm smothering my grass with wet newspapers. I haven't quite decided exactly all of what is going into that area but Little Bluestem and Blue Eyed Grass are definites so far. I'm thinking of adding dashes of Ohio Spiderwort, Illinois Bundleflower, Canada Tick Trefoil, Sky-Blue Aster, Pale Indian Plantain, Fringed Gentian, and I have a few others I am tossing around in my brain that are alluding me now. I want the plants to dance in the wind and glisten in the rain.
Okay Dead Lawn Buddies, here's a question.
Suppose I have a friend that wants to put down an even layer of "Round-up", without spraying. She has spots that just seem to thrive with sprawling weeds right in the middle of other things she wants to save.
What would happen if she mixed round-up with some thin flat white (or green for that mater) waterbased paint and rolled in on those weed spots with a self-dispencing paint roller? She could tell where she had been already and not over spray on good plants. What are concerns with putting thin layer of waterbased paint on the sand around here?
Dodo, how marvelous. I'd do prairie if nature would give me the water. Loved the saving the 'kitty' story. And I'm still giggling over the idea of 'seeding' the lawn with grubs. heehee
How great is that - you guys live near enuff to see each other's yardens. ;-))
Equilibrium - first can I say that your handle is a life's goal, finding the balance. LOL
then... oh yes, do the blue-eyed grass, first time I saw that, fell in love with it. Great mind picture: "dance in the wind, glisten in the rain" ---
Now you've got me thinking of some native grasses.
Something less than rampant. I do have border gardens that I don't want any kind of grass to show up in. Have come to look at one bermuda type grass as the enemy.
Dead Lawn Buddy, I don't if or how toxic water based paints are. You might get a clue about that from the "warnings" on the label. You could also call the CES agent and ask. They're supposed to know about things like that I think. Other than any toxicity issues that sounds like a pretty good idea for smallish areas!
Sugarweed, I've used a small foam brush dipped in the round up to paint things I wanted gone that are near things I want to keep. never thought of adding paint -- but how about adding food color straight to the round up - some of the best dye, just try spilling it.
I meant the dye not the roundup ooh never mind... I'm even going to use some next time I use ru , never thought of it before though I've stained plywood with food coloring before.
Well, we're talking somewhere around 1500 sq.ft.and the paint was also to thicken the Round-up so it could be applied slower, and more controled way. The use of tinted wheat paste is another option that crosses my mind. Maybe just use Round-up as liquid when mixing it. Might still want to use 1/4 cup white paint per quart, just so I know where I've been, I mean she's been. Whatcha think?
Well, it does't look good. We really beefed up our union after the clean air treaty with 80 nation was signed in by Pres. Clinton. The US has now pulled out of the international clean air intiative.
Now we have doulble the membership and 1/5th the work. When the lights go out, they'll call us. But rules have changed and they call for my craft by name now, instead of senority or out-of-work list. I changed Unions in the middle of a 27 year career, and am not vested after 15 years in the Boilermakers.
So, it looks permanent.
I am so sorry, I completely missed this thread was alive and well. I have book marked it to my watch list. I will get back here later, have to go out and butcher some buckthorn today while the weather is still cooperating. Be back!
Sugarweed- check this thread- http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/465242/
Hate to say it but read it from start to finish as Round Up is discussed toward the end. You will probably have some direction as to how to go with your 1500sq feet of existing lawn. Forget my comments about the fungus... they were meant for dodecatheon so don't get hung up on them.
Dodo, have been re-reading this thread and got my morning giggle over something of yours - the very idea of *seeding* lawns with grubs had me simply sniggering out loud. Envisioning night raids on the local golf course. LOL
I guess you can count me as a member. I am gradually eliminating the lawn because my DH hates to do any yard work and I'm too fed up to keep up with the neighbors. Half of the front yard was already started that way although pachasandra and wintercreeper have to be dealt with and the other half, while it still has a bit of lawn, is a cutting garden. The back yard has the pond and I will be slowly creating a patio there and putting up a greenhouse. There is a fairly large planting of small thin evergreens that were half dead that is coming back and I'll be removing lots of burning bush and viburnums. Lots of trees. Too many trees. Close to the house. Surrounding the power lines. Add five years to the development plan. Virginia Creeper planted by the last owner. Add five more years to the plan... Jessamine
I finally got some pictures of my back yard "Lawn Reduction Plan."(The front lawn was eliminated completely about 2 years ago.)
I had to wait until the oak leaves fell...
Now I will let the leaves become the bottom layer of my new beds. I removed the leaves from the driveway and added them on top. Since oak leaves form a mat I didn't need newspaper.
I was thinking of getting some burning bushes on purpose. Is that really a bad, bad idea? I love the color in the fall. On the other hand I let some Virginia Creeper live where it appeared in the border garden... NOt a good idea.
Boy those Live Oaks are pretty. I have seen some beauties in Louisiana.
I'm replacing my small burning bush (and a barberry) with "wine and roses" Weigelia. There are so many shrubs that have nice fall color. The viburnums are nice and many have berries for the birds. I like Cranberrybush Viburnum, and Korean Spice viburnum- the flowers smell heavenly on that one- and the leaves are red in fall. another favorite is Blue Muffin- a small one, I just got one, not sure on the fall color.
Oakleaf Hydrangea has a beautiful, rich red fall color.
Oh oceangirl! Beautiful backyard! I see your oak leaves all spread out smothering away! Good for you!
Hi Blooms, probably not a problem child west of the rockies yet although I have friends in Oregon who planted them and claimed they had to pull thousands of seedlings. Around here, it's a big cause for concern as it gets in and overtakes understories.
Here's a little blurb from the Nature Conservancy-
Equil, oceangirl, I will consider an alternative as suggested. I do see some burning bush around town and have not seen signs of spreading. But out here the only places to spread to are already over crowded stream beds and river sides. Where the tammys already reign supreme over natives.
Tamarack (Larix laricina), is a well behaved native east of the rockies. I've always heard these referred to as tammys before out my way but I'm thinking you are referring to Tamarix ramosissima and T. parviflora? We've been calling that Tamarisk and Salt Ceder out here. If that's the plant you've got, that thing is to the west what Buckthorn is to the Midwest. Yuck!
There are non fruiting cultivars of the burning bush hitting the market. They are far and few between but they do exist. Burning Bushes are getting a lot of much deserved bad press out my way so I have been told nurseries are focusing their marketing on the west in anticipation of them ending up on noxious lists out my way. Lucky you.
Your clime is considerably different than mine. If you can't find something that knocks your socks off, why not just plant the burning bushes?
A plant that I stuck in the ground here just this past year where I had once had a burning bush was Diablo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo') from your side of the Rockies. I had already planted a considerable number of Eastern Ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius) which are native in my range but wanted something that had a different colored leaf for year round appeal at the base of a bird feeder. The Diablo has a deep burnt red/purplish leaf year round. There's another Ninebark out there, P. capitatus. I don't know much about that one. Other than that, I did plant several Cranberrybush Viburnums and Oakleaf Hydrangeas to get that red fall display. Sure do wish I could remember where I planted the Oakleaf Hydrangeas.
Equil, Tamarisk - the deadly far east invader of every spring, seep, creek and riverway in the west. We call them 'Tammies', sorry for confusion. I will rethink the burning bush - altho the red leaves in the fall would add a splash in the yellow out there, we have enough exotic thugs.
As the guy from the CDC said 'birds fly'. The Redbud in my back yard got here via the avian express. So also the dozen or more Virginia Creepers. Don't really want to see a burning bush at the back of Moonflower Canyon.
DD planted a Cranberrybush Viburnum this fall, if it does well at her place that or the Korean Spicebush that OceanGirl mentioned.
hmmm wonder if my local nursery carrys our own Devil's Ninebark?
Tee he... my Diablo Ninebarks were newly planted this past year. There are three of them and they are only about 2.5' tall. I have no idea how they will do here in my region. I suspect they should be fine but we'll see. The Eastern Ninebark was planted last spring as bareroot and it didn't survive. There may be one straggler out there still clinging to life but doubtful after the floods this past spring and then the drought.
April, I looked it up in PDB and it gets nice fall color, thanks for the hint. Have you guys seen Julie from Israels Photo Forum pics of her not grass lawn? no mowing and it looks great. I'd think it'd get in the gardens but it doesn't look it.
I planted two E.alata (burning bush) for DSM (there was already one down by the chicken coop, but too big root system to move). Got from a nursery. They are valued and apparently not invasive in the north country! I loved seeing them in the towns and cities of the Adirondacks in the fall -- and that's with all the color that occurs there naturally!
So, the question would have to be, HOW COLD and for HOW LONG does it have to get to reduce or eliminate the danger of uncontrolled spread? Maybe the usda site would have some leads... tomorrow (too late to start another google!)...
It is I suppose also possible they are only selling and planting non-fruiting versions... it was price-y enough, as I recall...
I really don't know, but "Monkey Grass" is pretty sturdy and I think it's not thursty. The back of this home opens to the Trout River. They could even water w/ river water. My mini-mondo thrives and self seeds.
Not invasive in the north county? You nursery is seriously misinformed. Burning bush is reported as hardy to at least zone 4.
It's not a question of how long and how cold as much as that *any* seed produced is being spread by our avian friends far and wide. As Blooms was told, 'birds fly'!! "Seed production is prodigious. Birds relish eating the fruit, and seeds passing through their digestive tract are viable. Seeds dispersed this way germinate easily and spread the infestation to other areas."
But even non-fruiting or sterile cultivars produce pollen (non-fruiting dos not mean non-flowering) that has the capability of pollinating non-sterile cultivars of burning bushes.
To which: I have to go out and cover an area of unwanted 'cheat grass' with a large black tarp. so_HELP_ I was just wondering, as it's now above freezing and the grass is freshly wet with snow melt - IS NOW A OKAY TIME TO USE ROUNDUP ON WEED GRASS? And then I could cover it with the tarp later. anybody with real knowledge or experience? LMK ~Blooms
Yes, Blooms, It's rather chilly to spray roundup now. You can, but effectivenss will be much higher in warmer temps and with shorter translocation time. But my real knowledge and experience comes from having a pesticide applicators license ;^)
I didn't think that responding to a direct and specific question in a thread was taboo but that publically chastising someone was (tsk, tsk)...
Hi Blooms, if you've got freshly melted snow I don't think your temps are anywhere near the range requisite for effectiveness of Round Up. You can still use the tarps if you don't mind the look of keeping them where you lay them for a while, quite a while. I really have found that smothering will kill just about anything given time.
I have a correspondence in a folder in my plant e-mails from one of the folk over at Monsanto in the test labs. Let me see if I can dig it up and post it here.
Hi Crystalspin, I stand corrected, Burning Bushes have begun to be a cause for concern out west. People are capitalizing on this "window of opportunity". You might want to take a look at this web site- http://www.freeplants.com/frame%20set.htm
You will have to log on and be annoyed with a few adds but this guy claims to have made over 25k peddling his Burning Bushes from his home and if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of his page you will find something that is so sad yet so representative of the reason this plant will become an even greater cause for concern in many areas-
"BUT NO MENTION OF PLANT PATENTS OR NURSERY CERTIFICATION OR NURSERY INSPECTIONS OR , OR, OR..."
Many people do know this plant is a problem. So disheartening considering there are so many who don't who are being exploited with all the marketing hype and splashy photos of the plant.
This statement made by caron is correct, "But even non-fruiting or sterile cultivars produce pollen (non-fruiting dos not mean non-flowering) that has the capability of pollinating non-sterile cultivars of burning bushes." This is one of the reasons why we are having such issues with Calleryana Pears. Those Stepford Wife Pear things that there are over 25 cultivars of with more in the works.
You can do tons and tons and tons with the plants that are native to your area...it's called xeriscaping. One of the people I buy my native plant seed from is in Utah. She was originally from this area, then moved out west to Utah. No, it won't be a prairie, but it will be it's own beautiful thing! Consult with your DNR, they will be happy to help you. I love the landscape in the west, it's awe-inspiring. If it wasn't so hot, I'd be out there in a New York minute! I dug up some more of my front yard this fall, and re-planted a bunch of grubs, LOL! Still no sign of skunks, unfortunately. I think rabies and Rte. 12 have taken its toll on them. Got lots of huge possums, though. Did you know that possums are the only animals that keep growing their entire lifetime? april
Well, I've been doing just that so far... letting the natives move in on their own or with my helpful hand. Brought home some native fall aster seeds and spread them around this fall, the bee balm and globe mallow are spreading around the lot next door on their own / with an occasional spritz to encourage development. And I do mean occasional.
I have 2 volunteer native junipers in the bed next to the house. Will be moving them out into the lot in the spring, as they are way too close to the house. This is one of three mallows that have planted themselves right next to the cultivated beds... they benefit from the water, grow larger and bloom longer than the ones out there on their own. oh so pretty.
I just discovered this thread and yep, I've got a dichondra no-mow lawn. The very same that Blooms posted a link to above. I absolutely love it.
It DOES get into the beds, but this doesn't need to be a problem. If you put plants that can stand their ground, it will work really well with the dichondra. My dichondra just "peppers" a few of my plants and looks nice curling into them gently at the edges. Also, unless you are adding a very dense and strong-willed ground cover, plants need to be 12 inches tall so as not to be drowned by the dichondra. For example, the mature gazania that I transplanted to that garden are doing well several months later. But the baby gazania that I added to the group were swamped very quickly after I put them in...they just weren't big enough to stand up to the dichondra. My low growing 25-30 centimeter tall Cuphea hyssopifolia is right in the thick of the dichondra and is thriving better than it ever did anywhere else in my garden.
Can you tell I love my dichondra garden? :-) I've had it in since July and have never once mowed it. When my kids are grown and play less in the garden, I'm going to rip at least half of the grass out of the garden in the lower garden (our garden is in 2 levels and the dichondra is in the upper garden)...and dot plants and bushes all over that square. When DH is too old to play football with the kids in the narrow strip, I'll attack the grass there too ;-). hehehe I hate grass...I'm allergic to it no less and I itch for hours everytime I end up needing to sit on it to weed this or that. So I'm all for ridding the garden of the awful stuff :-).
Here's a link to a thread with a lot more photos of my dichondra garden (and the rest of my gardens). These were taken at the end of November, so please try to imagine the garden in full bloom in spring and summer rather than the sad state much of it is in these pics LOL
You offered a while back on this thread live oak seedlings. If you have some you want to get rid of, I'd love to have some. We have live oaks in the area here, even one on our lot. But the squirrels gobble their acorns up and we've had NO seedlings. I'd love to leave at least a few on our 2 lots to mark our passing this way.
LMK if you want to trade for something, or I'd be happy to pay SASE costs. We'd love to have some seedlings!!!
Blooms, I humbly request to be admitted to your dead lawn society. What little grass we had, I have managed to kill off for the most part near the house.
For the sake of community, in a totally suburban area, DH does faithfully "mow" the 12" strip of St. Augustine grass next to the street, in full obeisance to the rest of our widely grassed community.
You can spot our house easily. It's the only one that is "wild" in front, and all around 4 sides. Long live our trees, shrubs, and flowering plants, and pinestraw all around!!!!
If you want to see our garden, you have to drive to the end of the driveway and walk around the house. Almost all of the flowering plants are out from the house, so I CAN SEE them from the windows inside!
BTW, I started my own DLS 13 years ago when we first moved here, much to the chagrin of our neighbors!!! Can I join yours????
You bet Judith, if I can figure out how to dig and get them to you properly. I got this amazing new shovel for Christmas. It's a 1' long, 4" wide blade on a nice long super handle.
My trees are so old and big that I believe these are shoots from the roots. I have tons of acorns from the one huge Water Oak in the back, but don't really get many, if any from three Live Oaks in the front.
I'll see what I can dig-up when I get back from a quick juant to DC next week. I have decided t cultivate 2 volunteers here from now on too.
Hurrah for Judith, the longest Dead Lawn member. How Great is that... I'm only just getting going but I'll have it whipped in a year or so. It's just that I added a whole 'nother lot to contend with and i've been playing catch up over on that one as it's been ignored for ten years before it became my problem.
My neighbors too wish I'd just plant and mow some grass. Fat Chance. heehee. Welcome to all.
Just yesterday saw the tail end of a PBS program saying this drought my section of the country is in may just be the way things will be for a long loooooooong time. Something to ponder.
Blooms, do you use the water retaining crystals when you plant? They are good for holding water as it rushes swiftly through the sand in my yard.
This year of course I had plenty with our hurricanes, but many years we have had drought here too. I have electric rain now and everyone thinks I did it for grass, ch,ch,ch wrong!
I am rooting cuttings today and wish I had some electric rain in the house for them.
Yep, I often do and sometimes you can tell which plants don't have 'em. I add all kinds of stuff to my blow sand property when I'm planting, sometimes I say it's just to slow the water down. Coupla summers and ya can dig down and find it 'all gone' almost as if it had never been added.
Actually that's probably why the lawn wasn't doing so well to start with. So much sand blows in and is caught by the grass that the local cemetery has to lift and re-set headstones every few years.
Is Blooms right? Your kids play in the dichondra? Or you have other lawn with grass where they play? I had a piece of dichondra once (came with the house); if the hose lay on it for a few hours, the yellow line would be there for months. Parts would die if you crossed your eyes at it... Now, you don't get that much more rain than we do (do you?) -- are you watering every day?
My kids and dog play all over mine. But I seem to remember someone here (dont' know if it was you or not) saying that their Dichondra gets flowers. It's obviously a different species than mine as this one doesn't flower at all. The GCs called this Dichondra micrantha I believe, but I can check again to see. The EofGP says that D. micrantha does indeed flower. Perhaps what we have here is a modified cultivar that doesn't flower? In any case, yes, if I leave a pot on it or rock ro what have you for a few days, it will kill the Dichondra underneath. But for me, it comes back within a week or two thick as ever...with regular watering that is. We couldn't have dichondra here in summer any more than we could have grass without a sprinkler system. But the kids have worn tracks in the grass where they play soccer with their father and under the swing set. But despite the heavy traffic on the dichondra, there aren't any spots worn on it...on the path leading to the upstairs garden, nor in the upstairs garden itself. It's really tough as nails and comes back faster and prettier than our grass if it gets killed (like the example above). Our grass takes constant and long-term care to repair even the smallest of damaged spots. It took me the 3 months to repair the grass in the back garden that had been killed due to a month long water sprinkler malfunction in late June-mid July. The Dichondra, with the same sprinkler malfunction, came back in just a week. And it never needs mowing! :-)
Oh, it's pretty alright, but since my experience at previous house, I just kinda thought of it as a "look don't touch" ground cover. It's for sure that a "proper" mowed grass lawn takes LOTS of care and is not all that forgiving, either... and it's more than possible that the hose lay there more than "a few hours"
I am probably not a candidate for the Society since we have never had a lawn since we moved to this mountain 30 years ago. What prompts me to post is a notion from the dichondra discussion.
I must preface this by saying things are pretty wild and native around here. No neighbors to chide us. What we do have are identifiable deer trails. One runs right outside the window in front of me where I am typing this now. It is dark so if they are there, I don't know it; but it is a pleasure to look up and see one ambling by. As a matter of fact, many of the roads through these mountains were based on the route "planning" the deer population generated hundreds of years ago.
How does this impact the dichondra discussion? Maybe paths or patterns in the dichondra, or whatever, that reflect the human activity that occurs there would lift the spirit, prompt one to think that this patch of earth is used and loved. How bad would it be to look out your window and see that family had been there (or are there now)?
The glossy magazine look of perfection is seductive. Give me the real world instead.
Poppy, I like that ''no neighbors to chide us'' - The mess I'm trying to turn into a desert with oasis is large and what I'm doing is small steps at a time. The results are mostly in my mind... which keeps running off with Tazzy's to play.
The neighbors definitely have no idea I'm even doing anything... what I call a light hand. So far it's mostly removal gardening. Like de-weeding the introduced nasties, yet leaving every desert mallow plant or seedling.
It meant doing it myself, as hired hands tend to go whole hog and take down every thing. With the mustard and cheat grass removed it was really great to see how many of the mallows were there for my coming desert scape.
It'll look like a piece of out there moved in next door. The tough part is getting rid of and then controlling the weed grasses and tumbleweed like plants that love disturbed ground. So easy to say. ~Blooms
All right John, you're gonna remind me that I still need to roll that RU on my DG, so I can really have a dead lawn to replant with goodies.
I have a used paint runner cartridge after painting my BR last week, and will see if I can use that to put the RU right where I want it.
I saw some of my Hosta Liner roots bare today, so I'll put new soil on them In the morning.
Just in case anyone's interested, the Alminac said today and tomorrow are great to start seeds.
Sugarweed, I read a nice tip several months ago (so I dont' remember who to give credit to) about using a cup or jar to hold the RU and then painting it on with a small paintbrush (like kids would use for watercoloring). This eliminates all worry of it flying about in the wind like it does when you spray it. And you can control the drips fairly well too so long as you are patient and don't get too rushed. I did it in an area where I had about 50 gazillion baby weeds coming up in a bed where I just couldn't spray as I'd end up killing all my lovely big plants too. It worked like a charm. One bruch across each of the baby weeds, they all died never came back and my big plants weren't affected one little bit :-)
Yes, that's the idea here.
I have a paint roller you put a quart of paint inside the roller head, thus putting it where I want it.
The plan is use some water soluable paint to dilute my RU concentrate so I can tell where I put it.
This is a large area, 15' x 90'. I will then turn it and supplement it, and plant it right to the edges.
It's totally partial shade under 3 huge live oaks.
It's the area right behind me in this photo http://davesgarden.com/forums/fp.php?pid=1256287
I love that shovel.
PS I am not as wide as that picture makes me look.
Oh I can see what you mean. I thought you meant just getting rid of a few weeds! WOW! That is a big space. Yep, it's either a sprayer or a roller...no small paint brush would work there. Well, I suppose it would, but only if you wanted to be bending over weeds playing "Nature Painter" for the next few years! LOL. And you don't look wide at all! You look very cute :-)
Absolutely, I want to become famous as the lady who just had so many flowers she didn't know what to do, so she fed em and pnched them and put em in beds til one day she snipped their little dead heads. No grass around here. Sidney
Hey all. If you want to get rid of your grass, just invite a bunch of House Sparrows at nesting time. Today I saw the funniest thing (probably those of you who are wiser to teh ways of birds will think this is commonplace ;-). Some House Sparrows were picking grass in big bunches with their beaks like tiny little hay gatherers. It was just amazing to watch. Within a five minute period of me having nothing better to do, I watched about 20 of them clear out a 1 meter patch of weed grass that was growing in the shopping center I was at. They'd come, rip out a centimeter strip, fly away to somewhere I couldn't see, come back and rip out more...and they just kept at it with such an intensity it was spellbinding. At least for me and my 3 year old it was ;-).
Sooo to keep this on topic, just hire a bunch of House Sparrows to clear your lawn of grass. ;-) Or better yet, advertise "Free Lawn Grass...Take as much as you can pick!"
Well, found a can of latex "oops" from HD that I often purchase for $3. for creative craft projects.
I tried mixing 6oz RU concentrate, 1/2 gal paint and 1/2 gal water.
One friend drove by twice to see if she could believe her own eyes from the first time.
It does't seem to even affected the bugle weed or any thing else. I will be painting it on today without the latex paint.
When I get the weeds out, I'm planting with Brugs, Hostas, Impomea, and all sort's of other non grass plants.
There are 3 "Live Oak" trees.
My friend Betty said "But what kind of oaks are they?"
We sure would like to be rid of most of our grass. There are about a dozen types here, the worst is the "needle" grass that is too tough for just about any mower. Have to go over it 2 or 3 times to knock it back, then in 2 days it comes back to 6 inches tall. We have tried deep gravel, even making rocks and the stuff grows on anything. We are in the process of planting the Evergreen Wisteria everywhere, hoping the dense shade will get the stuff.
Hey, I love a patch of soft green lawn. Just can't handle the water it takes in the desert. Rather have flowers. More and More yards here are switching to less needful plantings. It's really becoming quite colorful.
Don't know how I missed this thread, but I've been lawn free for over 10 years. No mowers or lawn trimmers needed at my house. I just keep widing beds until they all joined up. Now the whole yard is my playground. Much more fun!
Hmmm, expanding/widening beds until they all meet??? Sounds vunderva to me! I'm on a 10 year phase out program these days. Little strokes fell great oaks and all. I did get rid of more lawn this year but not as much as I would have liked to eliminate. I like that phrase "Lawn Free". I'll have to remember that one. Very good Susan!
you betcha Zhinu, become an example for the neighborhood. !!! My volunteer desert sunflowers grew tall enough this summer to provide a screen for the neighbors to look at, so they don't have to shudder at the unkempt appearance of my yard.
Well, I'm 26, and I do believe that lawns are about the stupidest thing we as a culture have embraced. But, I can't say I'm ahead of the game by not having a lawn, I live in a second story apartment. I'm working on "landscaping" my porch. Making as close as possible to a container Permaculture garden.
Hey - I'll gladly join the "Anti-Lawn" club. I've never understood the appeal. Around here we call them "Lawn Nazi's" - lol!!! They mow twice a week, weather it needs it or not, use so many chemicals/fertilizers that they actually have birds dropping dead, & water-water-water, even when drought conditions are in effect.
I find it rather sad & anal behavior myself.
Do I have a "lawn" growing around my house? Sure - but it's a mix of grass & - oh heavens!! - some weeds, gets absolutely nothing applied to it, & gets mowed once or twice a week during the growing season. It's always green, soft underfoot, & I can't possibly imagine a bigger waste of time than changing the status quo.
I am a member of the "lawn shrinkage factor". Each year I lose about 600 to 800 square ft of lawn to raised beds. Just think soon I will be able to sell the lawn mower and get a chipper shredder. The perfect lawn is "next door". Advantage of raised bed vs Lawn: Pulling weeds, less water, more variety, more activities for the gardener, no pressing boredome of mowing 3 times a week in June, Sell the airator, Lawn sweeper, rake, spreader, thatcher, mulching mower, lawn vaccum, end weed killer, Sell sprayer, and more importantly MORE COMPOST! Oh that also justifies the purchase of a greenhouse to cover more lawn and raise more perenials. Right honey!
I just found this old thread with new life...
I been losing about 500 sq ft per year of my lawn (250 in front and 250 in back last year) for the last 3 years. I'm doing the 'tree island' thing right now, (I only have about 1/3 acre with about 40 mature oaks to play with) eventually I will just have mowed paths!
PS I love the Dead Lawn Society.
Wonderful to see this thread pop up again..
Sofer, I would have guessed you preferred plants over a lawn.. and you listed several as yet unmentioned benefits of the smaller lawn area.
Spring must be approaching... people are beginning to rethink the LAWN thing again... How fun.. We have had such a dry winter here that i'm afraid a lot of my non-natives may have 'bit the dust' .. more room for natives. LOL
Local newspaper says our mountains that feed our streams in this valley are at only 60 percent of 'normal' precip for the winter... and on top of that a fair part of it has evaporated into these last few storms of winds from AZ .
I predict more lawn reduction valley wide this year. And yet our swiftly doubling population is coming from non desert areas and have yet to absorb the reality of it. Can only hope. /;-)~Blooms
In most of the more nicer neighborhoods around here the lawns are minimal if any. Most of the yards are wooded. These are newer houses, not old established neighborhoods. A lot of new homeowners are deciding not to clear cut thier lots anymore before building a home. It certainly does look more tranquil. If it weren't for an overhead powerline running right through my front yard, I would plant more trees and ditch all of the grass.
equil I'm honored by someone so garden smart to like my gardens. Thank you. But wait till I show you guys my meadows this spring. God really out did me and made a beautiful mix there. I do love His gardens also. This is indigenous plants ala Kodiak. Last summer on pillar mountain.
My friend Betty remarked last week as we drove 15 miles across the North Carolina countryside. "They gripe and gripe about water use, don't wash your cars, don't water your yard and don't take but 2 minute showers, but they throw up houses non-stop and you know these folks in these $300,000. homes don't think that pertains to them."
They also have huge yards that must look pristeen. I can say that red clay does hold water very well.
The name Dead lawn society has such negative connotations.
I tend to think of my non-traditional lawn as alive with critters and plants and stuff. I tend to view the traditional lawn those monocultural toxic waste lands are dead - not my yard that is alive with flowers and bugs and birds and grasses etc.
I would like to join your club but only if you consider changing the name.
Well, my lawn is dead, I killed it [with Wilbur's help] and Mother Nature was filling it in. I really don't see the negative conotation at all. It's in the indigenous plants thread because lawn grasses are NOT indigenous, if that's as clear as mud? As is our wont to do, we were having fun with the concept... and were also serious with the idea.
YOU could start a new thread titled 'lawn alternatives' and that would draw a whole new crowd. We have so many new forums and threads I don't know just where to steer a newbie on this one.
BTW Welcome to DG JoePye... as lovely an indigenous plant as ever grew on my sister's farm back east.
Bit tall for a lawn tho. LOL ~Blooms
just had a quick look at it, nice site... gonna make a good evening's read Thanks for finding it for us...
I've found that leadwort gets nice and thick and is green all summer long into late fall when it turns reddish. BUT then it is just dead looking all winter. Which of late years has had no snow to hide under.
In another week I'll be at the local native plants nursery looking for some things that REALLY belong here. Altho, even the natives out in the surrounding lands are in trouble on availlable rain [as there isn't any] I will have to water a little to get them started. ~Blooms
I was driving kids to school this morning and photographed three newer homes over by me. I am no longer alone in not extending lawn to the curb.
Here's the first lawnless house I photographed that was completed last fall. Look close and there is a house back there. I didn't go all the way up their driveway but from where I stood it did appear there was about 10' or so of something around the footprint of their home but it is some sort of tall grass-
Here's another home that is currently under construction. I spoke to the people who will be living in this house and they have no intentions of having any more lawn than what is necessary to have a picnic table and a few seating areas for chairs-
Here's a classic home where the owners had cleared everything from their property to build last year. They only have about two acres but they bulldozed literally everything. Looks pretty nekkid doesn't it?
Forgot to mention that the trees over to the left of that property are Black Locust and Buckthorn as well as a few other species showing up in the distance on the other side of the road that can not be seen from this photo. That's all they left because they are a corner lot and evidently they wanted some privacy from the road. They had mature Oaks on the property before they "beautified" it and created their lawn.
Here's an area on my property that I just love that was left natural. It is in the middle of the wetlands. It's a little naturally occurring pond complete with a little island in the center. It looks pretty enshrouded in fresh fallen snow. The area has not been cleared of invasive species yet. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.
They just think differently than you and I. They haven't had exposure to some of the issues as have you and I. One thing is for certain, the odds of any of the people around here with lawns ever having read any of the links contained in this thread are like zilch, nadda, and zip. I don't think people realize the money they can save by ditching their landscapers and going au naturelle. I guess they like buying and maintaining very expensive riding lawn mowers and spending about an hour and a half to two hours riding around on them once a week from about May 1st to October 1st. Or better yet, paying a service to do it for them which will cost around $100 a week in this area for about 1.5 acres of lawn.
Seriously, sometime in the 1940's we were all sold a bill of goods that perfectly manicured lawns were the way to go. We grew up on early readers of Dick, Jane, Sally, and Spot and that's what we all know. Some people will always be hung up in that era. You also have to understand that there are many communities that disallow anything but lawns for the sake of "property values". Try to let your lawn go above 6" in one of these communities and you risk the lawn police coming out and citing your for not cutting it. There are people battling all over the place to turn their lawns into what joepyeweed has and they lose the battle left and right but... some win much to the chagrin of their neighbors. I should go and take a photo of a home that won a 3 year legal battle smack dab in the middle of a Northshore community a few miles from the Courthouse. It cost them about 10k in legal fees but they won and now there are a few others who have ditched their lawns thanks in part to this family. I feel for the people who want to elliminate their lawns in favor of the Prairie look or the No-Mow Lawn who can't because of ordinances. Seems as if raised beds are more tolerated particularly if they contain herbaceous perennials.
I can see the Black Locust although it is very weedy but I can guarantee they don't know that Buckthorn is on the State hit list.
Hey Blooms, those woods in those photos are loaded with invasives but the Oaks are still standing and I spotted some nice Pennsylvania Sedge! There's work either way in the beginning. This look will ultimately be reduced to "weeding" at some point in time where a lawn will go on being a maintenance hog.
I live in a suburb with roughly 80' x 210' lots. I've redone my entire back yard, killed all the non-native grass, and put in shrubs, trees, and perennials to attract birds and butterflies [about 70% plants native to North East US]. I tried seeding Buffalo Grass [ a cultivar supposedly good here] on the remaining 40% of the back yard, and after a 2 year battle with 3' high weeds, I have something I like, a multi-cultured grassy lawn, but I'm wondering if any of you can tell me what I have? Buchloe dactyloides is only supposed to be 3-6" tall.
I am so glad someone breathed life into this thread. This is one of my all time favorites.
Birdman, please do your best to get close up photos of your grass. If anyone is going to be able to get you an id they are going to need to see close ups of the following:Auricles A pair of claw-like projections at the juncture of the sheath and blade of certain grasses.
Grasses are real hard for me. They take me a while to figure out even with good photos. Sometimes I can get them, sometimes I can't.
Since there are a lot of people here, would you go back and edit your posts and label each image. Example would be the first photo is 1a, the second photo of the plant posted would be 2a and for the second photo of plant #2 go with 2b and 3a etc so everyone knows which photos go with which plant so that if there are questions, it's easier to refer to a specific image.
I got as close as I could with the flash. I try tomorrow if the sun ever comes out.
Maybe if I crop in Photoshop it will show better.
How did you get your posted photo to be 2.5 x the area of mine?
Here are the grasses on my current list. All are supposedly attractive to birds. The non-natives, Briza media, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche', Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue', Miscanthus sinensis, and Pennisetum alopecuroides are there either because I want a cool season grass or there's some niche my natives won't fill, e.g. winter interest or screening. Miscanthus sinensis isn't invasive here.
Scientific Name Common Name
Andropogon gerardii Big bluestem
Bouteloua curtipendula Sideoats grama
Bouteloua gracilis Blue grama
Briza media Common quaking grass
Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche' 'Karl Foerster' Feather reed grass
Carex bicknellii sedge
Carex flaccosperma var. glaucodea Blue wood sedge
Carex pennsylvania Pennsylvania sedge
Chasmanthium latifolium Northern Sea Oats
Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldgehange' 'Goldschleier' 'Goldtau' Tufted hair grass
Elymus canadensis Canada wild rye
Elymus histrix Bottle brush grass
Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' Blue fescue
Luzula sylvatica Great woodrush
Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio' 'Gracillimus' 'November Sunset' 'Strictus' Eulalia
Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine' 'Rehbraun' 'Rotstrahlbusch' Switch grass
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hamelin' Fountain grass
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blaze’ Little Bluestem
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel' 'Sioux Blue' Indian grass
Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie dropseed
I just started looking at your images and am going to save them to my desktop one by one so that I can enlarge them. I'm not good with grass, sedge, or rush identification but I try hard. I've got company this weekend so I may have to pick this up again next Tuesday but I am going to try my best to see what I can find onyour grasses. I'm sort of glad you posted these photos. Gives everyone a chance to take a look see.
I ran across a publication that you might like, "Weeds of the Northeast" by Uva, Neal, and DiTomaso. I have "Weeds of the North Central States" and it's been a big help to me and I've learned a lot from it.
Incidentally, what niche do you feel the Briza, Calamagrostis, Festuca, Miscanthus, and Pennisetum fill that an indigenous plant doesn't fill? Or why do you feel you need a cool season grass for your birds? Jusdt curious.
This is going to be fun for all of us. Thanks for posting your photos.
Thanks for making me rethink. I’m a newbie to plants and newer still to natives. I am educable and flexible, though, and if I can accomplish my goals with natives, which includes finding them to buy, I’ll do so. Here goes:
cool season – because I want to start getting bird-seeds and green and flowers as early as possible.
Briza media because it starts mid-spring, is creeping so it will fill in empty spaces that clumpers won’t and be a good ground cover and good to keep weeds out, it’s long-lived, has attractive flowers into winter.
Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche' because I want a non-fence screen as much of the year as possible in a strip 12’ x 2’ between my driveway and where my neighbor’s dogs poop. This grass is tall, straight, starts early, and looks good in winter.
Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' again cool season, attractive blue color [don’t think any of the natives are bluish], this cultivar is the longest-lived of the species.
Miscanthus sinensis basically because I can get it, while the natives are hard to find here. 'Strictus' again because it would make a good straight screen.
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln' bec. it’s an exc. ground cover, has very attractive inflorescenses. Or other cultivars just because they’re attractive and different looking than the natives. But if all cultivars are invasive, I won’t get it.
I haven't had time to read any of your "Links to sites that promote native plants", but I will soon.
I followed the excellent http://whizlab.isis.vt.edu/servlet/wid that equilibrium recommended, and came up with several answers. However, when I said "I don't know" more often, it listed 6 choices. The closest by far is Bulbous Oatgrass or Bulbous Tall Oatgrass: Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosa
HOWEVER, it also looks like PrairieGirlZ5's suggestion, Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris). whizlab didn't list that grass!
Either way, it's not what I want unless I turn it into a giant putting green.
Ya know what's really funny?? My little long haired chihuahua would much rather poop in the mulch than in what grass I have left. I haven't read thru the whole thing either, but I'll go back up to read what others are doing for areas where one actually wants to walk.
So, does anyone know if birds eat seeds from bentgrass or Bulbous Tall Oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosa)? From all grasses? When I search in DG or university plant sites, they enumerate certain grasses for birds, but the lists differ and are without any explanation. I haven't found a site that says birds like bentgrass or Arrhenatherum, but then most people mow it to 1-2". Mine is unshaven, 2' high, 3' with pannicles. http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=G870
Killing the original lawn, seeding with Buffalo Grass, weeding extensively for 2 years, then winding up with an invasive turf-grass is an experience up with which I will not again put. If I do try again, it would be with a US native, preferably one of the 3 that I know of that are CT natives:
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii).
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium, syn. Andropogon scoparius)
but possibly with one of these other US natives:
Bouteloua curtipendula Sideoats grama
Bouteloua gracilis Blue grama
Carex bicknellii sedge
Carex flaccosperma var. glaucodea Blue wood sedge
Carex pennsylvania Pennsylvania sedge
Chasmanthium latifolium Northern Sea Oats
Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldgehange' 'Goldschleier' 'Goldtau' Tufted hair grass
Elymus canadensis Canada wild rye
Elymus histrix Bottle brush grass
Luzula sylvatica Great woodrush
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blaze’ Little Bluestem
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel' 'Sioux Blue' Indian grass
Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie dropseed
I bought two reference books last weekend to play with your grasses and what can I say but lots of grass out there. This is exactly why when I plant grasses here... I will only purchase grasses that are indigenous to my State and to my County. It is too darn difficult identifying grass and I've only got half a chance if the clump is right in front of my face. Ugh. The two publications I picked up were the second editions edited by Agnes Chase of Volumes One and Two of the "Manual of the Grasses of the United States" by A. S. Hitchcock. I gotta tell you that all grass is starting to look the same to me! They are great publications but... don't buy them or by the time you are done trying to id even so much as one clump of grass, you will be ready to throw in the towel and your eyeballs will be hanging out of your head on slinkies.
[quote] I gotta tell you that all grass is starting to look the same to me! They are great publications but... don't buy them or by the time you are done trying to id even so much as one clump of grass, you will be ready to throw in the towel and your eyeballs will be hanging out of your head on slinkies.[/quote]
I can see your point.
Well well well sugahbaby... please tell me that you tried to get an id on his grasses? Are your eyeballs going boing too? I'm still hung up on the grass that PGZ5 thought was a Bentgrass and I keep coming up with a worthless Oatgrass on that one.
Hey birdman, I liked the grasses on your native list. The Miscanthus and a few others you mentioned aren't really the greatest for birds yet they are still listed as being so in many outdated publications. You might want to consider adding some fruiting trees and shrubs for your bird babies. Migrating birds need lipids in order to survive. Another area to explore would be the addition of conifers to your landscape. I recently began adding Cedar trees for just this reason but then went ahead and began adding Pinus spp. Birds are attracted to needle-bearing trees because they are dense and provide great protection where they can nest and roost. Pine cones also have seeds that are very desirable to many small birds. Water, that's another component to the equation. Birds need water to survive and are attracted to the sounds of running water even if it is nothing more than a little fountain in a birdbath. Just a few ideas. Were you aware we have a new forum called Gardening For Wildlife? I think you might like it. It's brand new so there are very few threads in it but maybe you could change that?
Running water is a critter magnet! Running water is to birds what milkweed is to Monarchs. Add even the smallest of water features and watch what shows up. A trickle tower even works based on my experiences.
equilibrium - love the Slinky image :)
your pic is worth a dozen web sites. when I worked thru the one you mentioned before and got to the question "is the ligule less than 1mm, 1-2mm, 2-4mm..." I got out my micrometer, found that some were .7mm, some 1.6mm, some non-existent, and more than my eyes glazed over. And, I realized that no picture I took could give you the info you'd need to make an ID. I couldn't get a sure ID even thought I had the bugger in my hand. One site discussed genetic IDs of grasses!
I eliminated all the non-natives on my list thanks to you. You are my heroin (sic).
I'm going to move the grass question to the new wildlife forum.
I have all the bird-attractors you mentioned, including the sound and sight of running water (just a dripper in a bird bath, but the birds love it). I haven't posted about that because I didn't have a question, but when I have some time I'll post on the other forum.
Now you understand why grasses, sedges, and rushes are the only plants that I exclusively go native on. I try and try and try to identify these grass thingies and I buy every imaginable reference manual and I end up going virtually blind and bonkers. [quote]I eliminated all the non-natives on my list thanks to you. You are my heroin (sic).[/quote]I think you missed an e there birdman but maybe you didn't which makes it even funnier being as how my husband refers to me as a plantaholic when I go into buying mode and am searching down the ever so elusive this or that. I must admit that reading that was funnier than the dickens given the direction this thread has taken regardless of which way I interpret heroin/heroine.
See ya over in the Gardening For Wildlife Forum! Please note there are two Wildlife Forums. One is titled "WildLife" and one is titled "Gardening For Wildlife". You will want the latter.
We're all nothing more than a bunch of enablers. That's the conclusion my husband came to a long time ago. Instead of going to the corner plant pimp, we go to each other to create lists of ever so desirable plants that we must then go out unto the earth to hunt down to feed our "habits". A little interjected humor amongst friends never hurt anyone... well exclude the pocket book.
Skimmed through your thread. A long time ago someone mentioned a curly grass in W.TX - Curly Mesquite or Hilaria belangeri - TX zones 5-10. Grows 4-6" and is more drought tolerant than even Buffalo, but not as soft-textured (p.127 of Native TX Plants by Wasowski).
The Carex or sedges here in TX are nice replacements for grass in shade and sometimes sun. Texensis spreads by rhizomes, but others can also form a nice mat, too. A little less xeric than Buffalo, it still needs a lot less water and care than non-native grasses. The natives here are nearly evergreen, too. So, why aren't more people using them?
Hey, I would like to join the society! We recently moved from a place that had a HOA that maintained our front lawn. Our new house has a lawn about 20 feet by 30 feet with some flower beds and tree circles, and no rules. I have plans to rip out a few sections of grass at a time and replace with low-water use perennials. I think I may get there this summer after a few more presssing 'new house' issues are dealt with. Until then we are trying to be as eco friendly with our lawn as possible. We picked up a push mower for $50; no gas required, just a few calories I can definitely spare. We don't want to use chemical fertilizer or weed killer because we have cute little frogs around the house. I'll post photos as the work progresses. Here's one from this morning :)
Katlian, it's the first of July and you're in Nevada - summer is here_
The plan to do a strip at a time sounds pretty good. You could maybe do the area around the tree on the left - that way you could lay out an entire new type system with seep or drip for your less thirsty plants.
It's always easier to do before the plants are all full grown ... my DS says water system first!! HAH !! I need to set the plants in place to see where they're gonna live. And THEN I lay out my seeper hose. around them.
Will keep an eye out for your new postings on the project. New homes are soooo time consumig. oh, yeah, so are old ones. ~~Blooms
yep, summer's in full swing here too. We got started on my lawn replacement project two nights ago. We've been doing 'twilight gardening' around here; early morning and after sunset until we can't see anymore. That's why the shadows are so deep in the photo I'm posting. We pulled out about 30 square feet of sod the first night (30 down, 350 to go). The next morning I dug up the sprinklers. I capped one off and added a manifold with eight drip stations to the other. Now I can set drips for the plants and small sprinklers for the remaining grass. Last night we dug in some compost. We have the opposite soil problem from you guys in Florida and Moab; thick, heavy clay with lots of calcium. It's gooey when wet and similar to limestone when dry. This morning I planted lavender, gaillardia, yarrow, salvia, and a couple others. We just got back from buying a load of cobbles to lay down around the plants.
The photo is from early this morning. Tonight I'll lay out the drips and finish putting in rocks, but not till the sun goes down.
Ah, the familiar early and very-late gardening-maintenance schedule. I waited until the sun was behind the walls/buildings and I *still* came in dripping with sweat... for the second time today.
The water-holding polymer beads work in clay too! I would not get the "powder" but what do I know, I've only used the beads before (I would estimate their larger size, 2-4mm). I think I will e-mail them and ask for recommendations on which size for what type of soil (clay/sand/humus). The polymer-beads help equalize your watering schedule -- as it is decidedly difficult to judge WHEN it's time to water, in summer conditions in clay-rich soil. "When the top inch is dry" LOL -- the roots could still be sitting in saturated soil, as any hole you dig is more or less a clay-pot!
Anyway, I have added beads along with aged peat, perlite (not vermiculite, which breaks down to MORE CLAY!) or granular pumice, coarse sand or peagravel... and no organic material in deep holes -- it rots and uses up oxygen, suffocating the plants (this is procedure particularly for trees, I apply it to large "permanent" perennials like salvias as well). My nurseryman says that peat is aged enough that it is all right in moderate amounts (he sells planting mix that is one-third peat, to be used up to 1:1 with native soil = 1/6 peat. Organics should be applied near the surface, as nature does, where air is available for oxiding and the nutrients carried down to the plant with watering. Gypsum/gypsite is said to "break down clay" and I have used it previously, but I've never remembered to ask this excellent nurseryman about it.
For the organic top-dressing, I've been using Dr.Earth products for a couple years now -- ones that incorporate microrhizeae (sp?): either the "soil" mixes or the boxed fertilizers -- which I make up as tea first, water/fertilize with it, then dig the residual solids into the top few inches around trees or large perennials.
Actually, Blooms and I neglected to use water-beads this year (although almost everything was planted in beds where they've been added before, we like to add some more mixed in the bottom of new holes) -- I am out and forgot to buy more. WOW, those are good prices on Sidney's link! And I love how they do not penalize HI & AK residents. I think I'll stock up for future plantings, now.
May I join? My lawn didn't die, it was just never planted. I wanted some grass just to keep the sand and dust down, but it just takes so long.
I opted for natural and ornamental grasses in the front yard with regular grass in the back yard for the dogs. And I'll tell you, they can track some sand in like you wouldn't believe.
When I made the path plan, I put the plants in and used pine straw as mulch and in the pathways. I have a pine forest in the front acre or so. Well, the pine needles have either decomposed by now or washed into spots from the heavy rains that come by periodically.
I still like the concept but I am patiently (yeah...right) waiting for the sleep, creep and leep rule. Many of my grasses are just now starting to jump after being in the ground since March.
I have salvias, cupheas, b'fly bushes and various other plants scattered about in the planted areas. There are also some bananas now with a couple shade trees and specimen trees and bushes here and there.
Even tho the filling in process seems to take some time, I am no longer limited to controlling my plant hoggedness. Although I am TRYING to get with the natives and xeri as much as possible so one day I won't need to water as much.
I am even letting the Flaming Sumac grow back. Can you picture those when they are flaming red????
''3 acres away'' sounds like heaven.
only thing about our buckets is the way white draws the eye
they are really the best things going until the sun eats em up
Nature will fill any space you leave blank, so you are doing just great. mulch thick between the specimens and in a few years they will be making their own claims on the land.
I know what you mean about disappearing path mulch. It's how I ended up with carpet paths here in the desert. Your space looks wonderous. Like you'd been there much longer than you have. the shed still looks wonderous, and the planting you've gotten done is truly amazing to me.
Or less I would guess. I think I'd try to get plug trays and plant a plug every 4 inches. If you can get them to bloom and go to seed, then harvest and plant those seed I think maybe 2 years it would look great. ;)
anastatia - mine did in MN. Then they'd green up in spring again. you must have rich humous for a lawn of wintergreen! Depending on where you are, you could add the beautiful bunchberry to the mix as it tends to grow well in the same conditions.
scooter, Welcome, I am still lawnless. Still haven't worked out a proper desert looking setting but there's no lawn out there. And I think card carrying member would be fun... I never thought about cards.
And now I have a huge new lot to not put grass on. 'The lot next door", is it's designation - and it's going to have fruit trees and a coupla new shade trees. And not much else. So far. I'm still working out where to place the things that will get watered and how to make the rest look nice == not just abandoned.
Watch out, Nature hates a vaccuum and every bird that flies by will drop tree seeds and every wind that blows brings weed seeds. It won't be empty long. Flower gardens are so much nicer anyway. ~Blooms
Scooterbug, I've been thinking of you...time to get back to that hypertufa stuff so that the rain of winter (oh no, please!) can make them ready for plants. I'm not good at keeping plants alive in pots, so I want to make myself a bathtub. Think that's over the top for a newbie project? lol
I'm not sure I actually started with "lawn," but since the former owner had two riding lawn mowers, and I hear he was out every day raking leaves, I guess it was a lawn. It's not a lawn in any way now, so one could say it is 100% eliminated.
Weedwacking is best for most of the place. The only thing I'm looking forward to the rainy season for is to use my new flame thrower on nasties.
Flame thrower work good on cheat grass this spring. hopeful got at least some of the seeds.
the cheat grass in the "lot nextdoor" has been slowly illiminated - it being a major fire hazard when it goes dead in late spring. I know, I accidently burned the lot once, before it was even ours. Ooops. I'd never seen a field of dead grass go up. fire started because of the igniting poperties of Cottonwood cotton.
have spent the better part of two springs pulling before it seeds. And this year was really rewarding with only a small patch left to deal with.
Equil, it's still an ongoing process here too. Nasty creeping grass moved into lawn area. Not easy to exterminate. But progress being made. LOL
All my old paths are covered in carpet. using thick cardboard temporarily on some of my newer paths. chickweed comes up all over without something. and then also when the wind blows there goes the real estate.
Tell me more about a flame thrower. I got a reciprocating saw several years ago. It was such fun! It cuts almost anything, including small trees. It can't cut vinca, though. What can I use a flame thrower on? I have a little kitchen torch for carmelizing suger on top of the creme brulee, but this flame thrower idea sounds much more grand. Can I use it on vinca?
I'd use it on vinca! Not in the middle of a summer drought, however.
This is the thread that got me started on one. http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/553897/#new
I bought it in the spring at the tail end of wet season, so I haven't used it much. We had something similar in Western CO - lots of farmers used them (or similar) when it was time to clean out the irrigation ditches.
Blooms, I used to be in Moab almost often when I was in Western CO. It was a bitty little place then, and I know what you mean about the wind taking away the real estate!
Yep, it WAS a lovely bitty little place when I moved here. Fell in love with the place on a visit and never left. Unfortunately, people with boocoo bucks have found us. It's both spoiled and expensive now. But it's ok because they can't spoil the surrounding canyons... and a town is just a place to have a roof.
It's been a while but a little update from me- I've knocked out another 20% of my lawn!
My goal is to eliminated the lawn by the time we need to buy a new riding lawn mower. Ours is over 20 some odd years old and it's not going to last forever. I'd really prefer to spend all the money I would have to spend buying a new riding lawn mower on plants!
Hey Sugah, how be you? Sounds as if you're blowing me out of the water getting rid of yours! I've still got about an acre left to eliminate but I'm plugging along. Have you any photos of how far you've gotten?
Awww Sugah, I feel for ya. I just had my new slave ripped off out of my rental car while traveling. Jokes on who ever stole it... slave requires a fingerprint to log to be able to gain remote access to my desktop at home which is password protected even after they log on. It was new but was basically nothing more than a conduit to my desktop. Bunch of dingdongs.
Wow, it's been a while since I've checked too. Sorry about the loss of your 'puter Eq. It sounds like you guys are making so progress though.
In 2007 we tore out about 1/3 of the remaining lawn, installed a bulb bed near the street, a raised area in the middle for xeriscape plants and shrubs, and a flagstone walkway to separate the two areas. We also marked out the small area of lawn that we do want to keep ( the part that gets enough shade to survive with a little less water). The rest will probably come out this summer.
I don't have any photos on this computer but I'll post some when I get home.
Here's a photo during construction of the native/xeriscape area in April. The berm is two to three feet tall and has excellent drainage thanks to the broken concrete and clay pot shards that make up the base. There is one to two feet of soil over the base, held up by large rocks.
Wow, Katlian, that is a wonderful lawn replacement.
I have nature helping with globe mallow and yellow bee balm.
I think I'll throw out some more seeds and see if I can come close to your success. ~~Blooms
My back lawn is almost completely dead! Most of it is smothered, and there are just a few patches here and there peeking through the leaf compost that need to be pulled or boiled to death. I've planted some native perennials, grasses, shrubs, vines, ferns, and trees here and there. I'm using almost exclusively plants native to Erie County. The only exception I can think of is a couple of Male Ferns I picked up at a plant sale: they're native to the state, but not this county.
The front yard is another matter. There's a little bit of lawn left, although I never water and rarely mow it. About half of the yard consists of mulched beds with daffodils, tulips, coreopsis, spiraea, pieris, and such. Mostly not native (except for the trees: serviceberry, hemlock, hophornbeam, swamp white oak), but not invasive either.