The benefits of a no mow lawn

Creating a no mow lawn is a great way to welcome natural habitats for wildlife, while also creating relaxing and beautiful places for your family to enjoy the natural world. Many people are choosing to reduce the size of their lawns for various reasons; some do it as a way to reduce the amount of water they use, some do it to reduce the amount of maintenance and time required for upkeep and others do it to reduce their overall footprint on the environment. The fact is returning an outdoor space to a more native environment does all of the above, creating a virtually maintenance free landscape that still provides plenty of green coverage.

What grass should be used to help create a no mow lawn?

Generally, a mixture of three species of fine fescue grass is what makes up a no mow lawn. Requiring little specialised care, fescues have visual appeal and are quite hardy plants aswell. This grass is the ideal choice to meet the goals of reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides, for moisture conservation, soil amendment, and to create natural habitat. Several species of this perennial cool season grass, fescue, have are low growing and have characteristics of clumping and spreading.  This easy natured grass is highly friendly to the environment, requiring very minimal, no mow lawn care. Building a seeded grass type lawn is similar to the creation of a no mow lawn with these new fescue seed mixtures. Requiring many fewer resources than traditional turf grasses, these are sustainable turf type plants that are very low maintenance. Follow these guidelines for creating and maintaining a beautiful and carefree no mow lawn.

Choosing the right blend of grasses

Preparation of the site to be altered must be done correctly as with any turf type project. After the preparations have been made it is time to choose the no mow fescue variety which is most appropriate for the needs of the region as well as the desire of the home-owner. There may be a certain design in mind that one type of seed mix can provide better than another.  For instance, there is a bunch type grass called chewing's fescue that actually creates a more dense turf than creeping red fescue and prefers shade. Creeping red fescue is a variant with seedlings that have excellent vigour, but is slow to fill. Still another variant that is not tolerant to mowing, called hard and sheep fescues, is a great way to control erosion on ditches, hillsides, and swales. While the latter variation is not tolerant to mowing, other types will have different reactions that may be favourable, while each variation also has different drought tolerances and tones. Almost all varieties will perform well as a no mow lawn since they are natural grasses and do not require mechanical maintenance. Check to see which blends perform the best for the region; this will inform the decision related to the varieties of plants that are recommended in particular zones.

a close up of some fescue grass - perfect for a no mow lawna close up of green grass, commonly found in UK gardens

As an alternative to the fescue blends there are blends of hair grass that work quite well for no mow lawns. These varieties include tufted hair grass and Pacific hair grass. The first type grows to about a foot or two and about two feet wide, producing clumps of dark green leaves. Appearing in late spring or summer are airy inflorescences that being green and then fade to the colour of straw. Tufted hair grass likes full sun or partial shade and regular water, making it a very good meadow grass in certain zones. The latter type, the Pacific hair grass, grows to about the same height but only to about a foot wide with similar dark green leaves. It too will grow inflorescences that are narrow, coarse, and the colour of straw. Pacific hair grass has the same sunlight and water needs as tufted hair grass, but also likes marshy or brackish locations.

Taking care of a no mow lawn

Installing a no mow lawn with fescue is a reliable way to reduce the need for water and for energy conservations. As stated above, some blends can be mowed, but the fact is the fescue replacement creates a natural landscape that is attractive without the need for cutting. It blends into the natural surroundings and shines with an inherent beauty.  At planting time, it is a good idea to use a balanced starter fertiliser (organic is preferred).  A formula with double nitrogen can be used as a seasonal spring-time application. In time, there will not be much need for weeding because these fescue plants will crowd out most weed species. Until that time, all that is needed is simple hand pulling of weeds.

Regardless of the type of no mow law is chosen, it is a conscientious decision to do so with the aim being reducing your carbon foot print and helping to establish landscape practices that are more sustainable.

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