Unchain yourself from the lawnmower with no-cut grasses
Photo: No Mow Grass
How much time do you spend on your grass? Imagine passing a summer without having to mow, weed, water or worry about the lawn? In our quest for the perfect green carpet, North Americans spend $1.6-million on lawn care products and dump 10 times more chemical fertilizers and pesticides per acre than used on commercial farmland. Not to mention our lawnmower emissions (in one hour a gas lawnmower emits the same amount of pollution as 40 new automobiles). The perfect lawn may well be a lost cause. No amount of fussing with high-powered chemicals is going to change the fact that grass is not indigenous to North America and simply doesn't grow easily. Unless, it's from the fescue family. Fescues were one of the first grasses brought over by settlers in the 1800s and have adapted to the North American climate. Shade-tolerant and resistant to drought and pests, fescues stay green for most of the year and require far less maintenance -- that translates into less mowing. Several companies have created their own special blend of fescue grasses that will free you from the tyranny of the lawnmower. The Wildflower Farm developed Eco-lawn using seven different fescue grasses. Eco-lawn germinates quickly and then slows down so that it only ever reaches 22 centimetres (nine inches). But because its blades are so fine, it flops over giving it a flowing carpet-like appearance. You can also get that manicured look by mowing just once a month. Its deep root system (22 to 35 centimetres or nine to 14 inches) makes it drought-resistant and able to grow in loam, well-drained clay or dry soil. It also tolerates full sun, part, or deep shade. There is even a blend with wildflower seeds to create an automatic meadow. No-Mow Grass is 50/50 blend of bent grass and short alpine fescue. It grows to be only seven to 10 centimeters (three to four inches). Even better, it does just fine in poor soil. Because it does grow slowly, you can give your lawn a manicured appearance by using the highest mower setting and cutting it once a month. It's also perfect for high traffic areas. You'll still need to do some weed control but that depends on how pristine you want your lawn. It survives harsh winters but you may need some snow cover to prevent freeze drying. Home owners in the warmer, southern climates will enjoy zoysia grass. This warm-season grass is native to China, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia. Famous for its vivid green and soft texture, it's a particularly hardy grass that thrives in blistering heat but can also handle the winter cold. It doesn't require much mowing because it grows sideways, sending out runners rather than growing tall. Its vigorous root system means it never needs to be watered and it will choke out crabgrass and other weeds. Zoysia Farm Nurseries created AmazoyÂ®, which is a network of plugs that can be put into new or existing lawns that will be well established in two seasons. A lawn that you don't need to mow, water, fertilize, aerate or weed -- what more could you ask for?