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What You Need To Know Before You Replace Your Roof

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on Jul 19, 2018

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit a Plant Nursery This Weekend

Whether you want to purchase plants for your new garden or revamp your current garden, a garden center is the perfect place to browse for plants...

on Jul 18, 2018

4 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

Regardless of how durable and resilient your roof is, you will eventually have to repair and even replace your roof. Since it’s difficult...

on Jul 18, 2018

Find Your Perfect Roof In 4 Easy Steps

Whether you’re simply renovating your home or starting from scratch and building it, a roof is an important aspect that you should consider....

on Jul 18, 2018

5 Ways to Maintain a Home Landscape

A good home landscape can really tie a home’s design appeal together. Once your landscape is designed, it’s important to maintain it....

on Jul 18, 2018

Alternatives to the Traditional Lawn

by Dan Eskelson on May 4, 2012

With recurring drought in many parts of the country, it may be wise to consider alternatives to resource-hogging manicured turfgrass areas. Unless you need your lawn for tuning up your golf game, replace at least part of it with native plants.

Drought tolerant grasses and wildflowers, once established, will make your life much easier and reduce your landscape maintenance costs greatly. Mowing is reduced to one cutting per year (fall in most regions), and watering can often be eliminated completely.

You can customize the native plantings with a wide variety of grasses and wildflowers to suit your specific region, soil and personal preferences - see the lists below.

There's one misconception regarding these native plantings - it's sometimes assumed that soil preparation can be less thorough. You will not need as much soil amendment, if any, but your grading and seedbed preparation should be as complete as if you're installing a traditional seeded lawn.

In dry, light soils, the addition of two inches of organic matter, tilled into the top four or five inches, will help germination and early establishment. When seeding during warm weather, a seed mulch of straw or other coarse material will be beneficial.

Though regular fertilization should not be necessary, a starter fertilizer certainly will be beneficial - use a good phosphorus source like bone meal or phosphate rock.

Newly seeded areas should be kept evenly moist during and after germination. Pamper your new planting for the first season, and then enjoy many years of beauty with extremely low maintenance.

The following lists specify just a few of the regional alternatives - contact your local county extension agent, nursery or landscape professional for more information.

Northeast/Mid-atlantic:

  • Little Bluestem
  • Broomsedge
  • Sideoats Grama
  • aster
  • Wild Geranium
  • Butterfly Weed

Midwest/Prairie:

  • Little Bluestem
  • Big Bluestem
  • Indian Grass
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Prairie Clover
  • Gayfeather

Southwest:

  • Blue Grama
  • Buffalograss
  • Sideoats Grama
  • Desert Marigold
  • Pastel Poppy
  • Showy Primrose

California/Pacific Northwest:

  • Purple Needlegrass
  • Idaho Fescue
  • Meadow Barley
  • California Fuchsia
  • Tidytips
  • Pacific Coast Iris

Southeast:

  • Broomsedge
  • Silver Bluestem
  • Tickle Grass
  • Blanket Flower
  • Plains Coreopsis
  • Southern Ragwort

Florida:

  • Wiregrass
  • Bottlebrush Three-awn
  • Pinewoods Dropseed
  • Wild Petunia
  • Sunshine Mimosa
  • Twinflower

Dan Eskelson @ Clearwater Landscapes, Inc.

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