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One of the easiest ways we can help the pollinators is to use some of the 50 million acres of ecological dead space currently tied up in non-natural grass lawns, and convert those to pollinators havens.
Grass lawns are an ecological “dead space”. And with over 50 million acres of turfgrass in the United States a lot of good can be done by converting non-natural grass lawns into flowering lawns and here are seven reasons why.
1. Less mowing. A regular grass lawn requires to be mowed weekly or even more often during spring and late summer when they grow more rapidly. With a flowering lawn you increase the height that you leave the lawn to about 4-6” and reduce the mowing frequency down to 1-2 times per month saving you a portion of the three billion gallons of gas used to maintain lawns each year.
2. No more watering. Once a flowering lawn is established it requires no additional watering. A grass lawn requires to be watered through dry periods to keep it green and prevent it from dying through droughts. Flowering lawns have a combination of grass and broadleaf plants like clover and self-heal which shade the soil surface keeping it cool and preventing it from drying out.
3. No more fertilizer. Grass lawns require nitrogen to grow each year otherwise they will thin out and give way to weeds. Flowering lawns contain white clover which fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and makes it available in the soil for plants to use making fertilizer not necessary.
4. No more pesticides. Each year 59 million pounds of pesticides are used to keep lawns looking “neat”. These harmful products threaten the health of people, pets, and the environment. Many pesticides are known to directly harm beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies as well as aquatic species like frogs and fish.
5. Support beneficial pollinators. Flowering lawns offer an abundance of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, moths, and other beneficial pollinators that we rely on for food and flower production. Keeping your flowering lawn at 4-6” and not mowing during bloom periods supports these extremely important insects.
6. Reduce your carbon footprint. You can offset the carbon you produce by increasing the amount of vegetation on your property. A flowering lawn has 3-5 times the vegetation than a grass lawn and can capture more carbon and store it in the soil.
7. Save Money! Grass lawns are expensive to maintain. Americans spent $105 billion in 2020 to maintain lawns. That’s an average of $1,700 per household. A flowering lawn has a small start-up cost, and very little required maintenance.
We would love to explain how you can convert part or all of your lawn into a haven for pollinators. Save money, save water, reduce chemicals, and help the environment.
What's not to love?
Learn more about no-mow native flowering lawns...
The white clover included in the seed kits provides nitrogen (what’s in fertilizer) for the other plants like the grass and other flowers. This reduces the need to add any additional fertilizer that a grass lawn normally requires each year. By adding broadleaf flowers to a grass lawn, you shade and cool the soil surface reducing the need for irrigation almost completely. Also, by adding low growing wildflowers to your lawn and not fertilizing you reduce the growth rate of the grass resulting in much less need for mowing throughout the year. All together, a native flowering lawn will save an average of $1,700 per year according to Home Advisor.
The no-mow movement is about drastically reducing the amount of mowing needed. There will still be mowing, but much less than before.
The amount of time it takes for the different varieties of seeds to flower will depend on a few things. Certain varieties like Crimson Clover, Dutch White Clover or Micro Clover may flower within one growing season, while our self-heal blend will usually will begin to flower in the second growing season, and Creeping Thyme usually will begin to flower in the third growing season. Other factors such as climate, soil, moisture, and light conditions will have effects on how long it is before you see flowers. Most of our varieties will bloom more in sunny areas.
We can help plan the seed blend to work in any location, from full sun to shade. To increase the success rate of plantings under trees, it is also a good idea to thin the canopy removing redundant branching especially any crossing branches that are rubbing.
Not likely. If your neighbors apply weed killers, then there will still be a very distinct line between the two. If they do not use any weed control, then it will look like a wavy line as the native species may slightly trickle over into the grass, but if they fertilize their grass, it will out-compete the wildflowers and stay just a grass lawn. It's best to let your neighbors know that you are converting to a flowering lawn and the benefits of doing so. This may help them ditch the chemicals!
Our seed blends are designed to grow in most any soil type of from sandy to silty to loamy and even in clay. These little wildflowers are tough. Creeping Thyme prefers sandy soil over clay so if you have heavy clay soil it will still grow but be slower to establish and less vigorous. If you have poor soil and want to improve it we recommend incorporating compost into the topsoil layer at the time of seeding to act as a soil enhancer and starter fertilizer for your flowering lawn. If your grass is thin and you know it is due to poor soil, we recommend to spread the seed more heavily to create a thicker flowering lawn.
Watering: It is very important to water regularly during the first few weeks if it doesn't rain and if a drought occurs in the first season. Once established, a flowering lawn only needs to be watered during extended dry periods and droughts.
Mowing: It is best to continue mowing at 3.5-4" for the first season to allow the seeds to germinate and grow in. Once established, it is up to you what height you keep your flowering lawn (be sure to check local ordinances for height restrictions). Once it is fully established, it is recommended to let it grow up to 6" and then mow it to 4" which will have you mowing about every 3-4 weeks and about 6-10 times per year. Mowing on the highest setting is recommended at least a few times per year to prevent any one variety from overtaking the others.
Fertilizer and Weed Killers: No starter fertilizer or subsequent fertilizing is required to grow a successful flowering lawn. If you have extremely sandy soil or heavy clay soil you could add compost (granulated is easiest) at the time of seeding to improve the growing conditions for the grass but it is not required. Do not apply any weed killers as they would kill the flowering lawn species. A weed popper tool can be used to remove any invasive or noxious weeds.