Tag Archives: xeriscape

Ditching your lawn doesn’t have to mean your xeriscape looks like the surface of the moon

Lawn, ecologically, is dead space,” said Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware and author of “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.”

The solution, he says, is ultimately less lawn. He recommends people aim to cut the amount of turf grass in their yard in half. But getting there, he says,will take a shift in culture that goes far beyond just using an electric mower.

America’s infatuation with grassy expanses dates back to the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson cultivated a lawn — previously a fixture of the European aristocracy — at his Monticello estate. By the second half of the 20th century, as the middle class grew, bought houses and spread into the suburbs, lawns had become a staple of Americana.

But, Tallamy insists, change is possible. “You can be an important part of conservation,” he said. “You aren’t powerless.”

Laying down mulch is one place to start. It quickly kills grass and offers a blank canvas for planting.

“If you have lawn under a mature tree, convert it to a mulched area,” suggested Kathy Connolly, a Connecticut-based landscape designer who recommends about six inches of raw, arborist, wood chips for the job. Connolly also recommends converting some of your lawn into paths, rock gardens or other features. “Ecologically, though,” she said, “the best thing to do is plant native trees and shrubs.”

Invasive plants, Tallamy said, “are ecologically castrating the land around us.” Native plants, on the other hand, often have deep root structures, making them good for storing water or providing drainage. They have also co-evolved for local conditions.

read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/06/30/climate-friendly-backyard/