En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Replacement of lawn with native grasses in Maryland

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 31, 2007

From: Frederick, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Turf
Title: Replacement of lawn with native grasses in Maryland
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in west central Maryland within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. My soil is heavy clay and nutrient deficient. I have/am planting native flower beds and a vegetable garden in an effort to reduce the amount of lawn I have, however, not all of the lawn will go. Currently, the lawn is in a dismal state with most of it either crabgrass or dry and dead due to our current drought conditions. I am looking for a native grass or grasses, including fescues, that I could use to plant and transform my current sad-state-of-affairs lawn into a more native and environmentally-preferred one. I have read some info and noticed that Pennsylvania sedge and red fescue (both native to the watershed) are good replacements. How do I replace my ENTIRE lawn with them? And do you have any other ideas or suggestions as well as places to purchase them? Thank you.

ANSWER:

We could write a very long reply to your question and not come close to providing answers to your questions as useful as a wonderful on-line resource written just for folks in your area. Bayscapes: Native Plant Guides, a publication of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service may be the best of its kind anywhere in the US. It provides excellent advice on landscaping with native plants, how to select them and where to find them. Two books that will be excellent resources for you are: Wild Lawn Handbood: Alternatives to the Traditionals Front Lawn, by Stevie Daniels and Secrets to Great Soil, by Elisabeth Stell. Finally, we highly recommend contacting your local Maryland Cooperative Extension Service agent for very specific recommendations for your particular landscape.
 

More Turf Questions

Alternative for sedges for turf-like lawn in shade
October 25, 2013 - When it comes to a turf-like lawn in shade, is it pretty much sedges or nothing among native options? By the way, I write from up north here in Iowa. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Lawn Grass for North Georgia
February 19, 2009 - I would like to know which type of grass would be best to plant in my yard? I have two dogs so there is a lot of traffic. The yard is on a slope so some of it stays dry while the rest is almost always...
view the full question and answer

Value of planting wildflowers versus maintaining turf
November 02, 2004 - I'm trying to determine the cost/value of planting wildflowers and whether it is less costly than maintaining turf. Do you have any research on this topic?
view the full question and answer

Rain garden for South Austin
March 01, 2010 - I have a TINY yard in south Austin. It is 8'x25', sandwiched between four houses and happens to be at the lowest elevation, so all of the neighbor's yards drain to ours. Originally, we had bermud...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating stinging nettles in lawn in Austin
May 13, 2009 - How do I get rid of stinging nettle that is dispersed through my lawn. It's not like the nettle pictures I see online - they are short plants and have narrow leaves - but covered with spines. Mowin...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center