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OmegaBrick
09-22-2012, 10:58 PM
I am preparing a bid for a new client interested in installing a naturalistic prairie in Michigan. I am specifying a strip of lawn 3' wide along the perimeter of the prairie as well as paths through the interior.

Since the client is interested in the prairie for its environmentally friendly aspects, I would like to use a low-growing or "no mow" grass seed. However, I have never installed a lawn using these products.

Does anyone have experience with these? Pros/Cons and any input would be appreciated.

Thanks

Smallaxe
09-23-2012, 08:59 AM
It seeds the same as any other cool-season fescue... it isn't really no-mow in that it is typically over 6" tall which means it falls over and looks messy... so I would smoothen out the pathways through the natural prairie enough to run a rider through, when the h.o. discovers it hides vole population and looks bad... I've never seen a "natural priarie" work in a small area...
How large is this spot... ?

RigglePLC
09-23-2012, 11:37 AM
I am not sure I understand the question, Omega. Did you want to install the low-mow grass on the 3 foot border and on the walking paths?

Good point, Ax. I am not sure if there is such a thing as no mow grass. And if you could find it--it probably lacks vigor--it would grow so slow it would not fill in after a dry spell. Even if you get it started, eventually it would be overcome by a more aggressive grass and weeds.

It is likely, you would have to go through by walking every year in spring, and cut out sapling trees and small brush and any weeds over 6 feet tall. Likely you would have to go over it once a year and using Roundup remove any particularly noxious weeds, such as poison ivy and Canada thistle. I suggest a rough mowing, tall cut, every year before it starts to grow. Tax day--April 15 works good for this.

If the client wants wild flowers, plan to plant sporadic clumps of perennials that seem to suit the situation--if you can't find enough native plants add a few from other areas. Remember native prairies burned every few years, and they were constantly grazed by buffalo, and antelope which helped keep them short and reduced the trees. And Michigan is not a prairie state--the natural landscape includes lots of trees. Plan for that to happen.

Smallaxe
09-23-2012, 12:05 PM
Buffalo and Antelope, even Whitetail Deer are no longer considered in the "Natural Prairie"... great observation Riggle... :)

cgaengineer
09-23-2012, 12:09 PM
There are some communities doing this no mow stuff...look pretty good but it takes a couple of years.
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Smallaxe
09-23-2012, 12:41 PM
Do you guys have to eventually mow it in GA??? Does it fall over on its neighbor and create dead zones that are especially obvious in the Spring???

I'm surprised that this Fescue actually has a life in the South... Shows my ignorance of Southern Turf... :)

Az Gardener
09-23-2012, 12:56 PM
We went through a period about 15 years ago when a similar idea was in vogue. Many Architects were designing these type spaces. That is also about the time Xeriscape was born, Buffalo grass was the grass of choice for those folk. Low water use, yearly mowing, no fertilizing, high salt tolerance, sounded like a dream at the time.

Unfortunately that grass catches every piece of trash and leaf litter that blows by. Without the mowing to clean up the mess maint costs are much higher and those grasses can't take any traffic. So even if you do pay the cost to clean, the grass is damaged and you loose the look. Needless to say none of those areas are around anymore, but Xericsape is alive and well.

Charles
09-23-2012, 01:03 PM
Do you guys have to eventually mow it in GA??? Does it fall over on its neighbor and create dead zones that are especially obvious in the Spring???

I'm surprised that this Fescue actually has a life in the South... Shows my ignorance of Southern Turf... :)

Fescue has a short life span in the south. Plant it in the fall. By mid summer it is dead. Repeat

cgaengineer
09-23-2012, 06:03 PM
Do you guys have to eventually mow it in GA??? Does it fall over on its neighbor and create dead zones that are especially obvious in the Spring???

I'm surprised that this Fescue actually has a life in the South... Shows my ignorance of Southern Turf... :)

It wasn't in GA where I saw it...I think it was out west.
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Smallaxe
09-24-2012, 09:15 AM
That makes sense, because the 'no-mow' we have here is a fescue... :)