No Mow Lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by OmegaBrick, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. OmegaBrick

    OmegaBrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    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.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    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... ?
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,171

    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.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Buffalo and Antelope, even Whitetail Deer are no longer considered in the "Natural Prairie"... great observation Riggle... :)
  5. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    There are some communities doing this no mow stuff...look pretty good but it takes a couple of years.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    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... :)
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    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.
  8. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,272

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

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    It wasn't in GA where I saw it...I think it was out west.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That makes sense, because the 'no-mow' we have here is a fescue... :)

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