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A Vineyard Lawn


Native Joe-Pye weed and swallowtail butterfly (photo by Jeremy Houser)

Imagine mowing much less frequently, saving gallons of water, and not needing lawn care chemicals...

When Vineyarders look at a bright green, weed free, turf lawn, many of us don’t find it beautiful. That’s because the chemical fertilizers and pesticides necessary to prop up an artificial lushness are poisoning our island ponds and contaminating shellfish beds. Chemicals  quickly leach through our sandy soils, into groundwater that replenishes our ponds. The nitrogen in fertilizers causes overgrowth of plant matter that chokes the delicate system. Pesticides poison pond species. They’re not good for kids, pets, or wildlife either.


 



















The alternative is a Vineyard Lawn. Start by preserving as many of the shrubs and trees on your property as you can.  The root systems of these plants bind the soil and prevent silty run off. Make the grass area as small as possible and plant a mix of seeds -- fescue, rye and clover are much hardier and more drought-resistant than fussy bluegrass.  Without herbicides, up to 50 species of plants and lichens can flourish in your Vineyard lawn. Left alone to flower and seed naturally, they’ll provide habitat for butterflies, fireflies, bees and other wildlife and reward the eye with a variety of colors and textures. 

Have you ever looked objectively at a dandelion or a clover blossom?  Their shapes and colors are lovely. Just ask the bees and butterflies. Don’t overwater your grass; summer dormancy is normal and the golden-brown shades of  August will refresh to green with September’s natural rainfall. Keep mowing to a minimum, never cutting lower than three inches, and let the clippings fall where they may--they’re a great natural fertilizer. In fall, spread a little organic compost and scatter a few native grass seeds (Blue Eyed Grass and Little Blue Stem are spectacular choices). In spring, your Vineyard lawn will reward you.


Click here for more information on growing your own Vineyard Lawn!

Also, see the bottom of this page for two documents: one for folks who do their own lawn care, and one for those who hire landscaping companies.








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Jeremy Houser,
May 24, 2013, 8:42 AM
Ċ
Jeremy Houser,
May 24, 2013, 8:42 AM