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Maryland DNR – Native Plant Profile: The Latest for Lawn Lovers

Perhaps one of the most common criticisms of the movement to fill our properties with native trees and gardens is that people miss lawns! There is something pleasing about the vista of a green lawn, or the smell of mowed grass in the summertime… Still, the benefits of replacing your lawn with more beneficial plantings cannot be denied. At the Wildlife and Heritage Service, we get questions all year round about what species to use that can be mowed, walked on, or at very least stay small and preserve an open view as lawns do. Options include groundcovers, ornamental or warm season grasses, establishing a wildflower meadow, or creating additional garden bed space. This question is clearly a hot topic for other gardeners nationwide; a recent research project at the Mt. Cuba Center specifically evaluated Carex species (a genus of grass-like perennials plants) for potential as lawn replacements. Their 4-year trial evaluated the qualities, survival, and adaptability of 70 different Carex species. They even considered cultivars (a plant variety that has been produced by selective breeding for a preferred characteristic), which has long been a subject of curiosity amongst gardeners. Similar to independent testing done for consumer ratings and reviews on appliances, they gave each species a number score. Plants were tested for […]

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