Low-maintenance grass is eco-friendly and drought-tolerant. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr - Ian T. McFarland

Low-maintenance grass is eco-friendly and drought-tolerant. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr – Ian T. McFarland

How would you like to only mow your grass once a month? With low-maintenance grass, it’s possible to mow and water less frequently, without sacrificing the fullness and greenness of your lawn. There are a number of new low-maintenance turf grasses currently on the market, including quality varieties like Kentucky bluegrass and UC Verde Buffalo Grass. Replacing your conventional grass with these eco-friendly, drought-tolerant alternatives can help save you both time and money, while benefiting the environment. Here’s a look at why you need low-maintenance grass.

Pros of Low-Maintenance Grass

Low-maintenance turf is made up of a variety of hardy, slow-growing grass species. These species generally require less mowing, watering and fertilizing than conventional turf, making the lawn’s upkeep minimal. Some new varieties of low-maintenance grass require mowing just once a month. This not only saves you time, but it can also save you money if you pay someone else to mow your lawn.

Low-maintenance grass also requires less water than conventional species. This means a drastic cut in your water bill and time saved watering your lawn. In areas prone to drought, such as California, Nevada, and Oregon, installing low-maintenance grass can also help conserve water. The periodic water the lawn does require can be easily collected in rain barrels, which collects and stores rainwater runoff from your roof.

Many people believe that low-maintenance grass is browner and sparser due to the lack of water and care it requires. However, newer varieties are able to maintain fullness and greenness, even when left unwatered and unmowed for weeks. The resistant grass is actually able to remain lush and green year-round. The secret to newer varieties of low-maintenance grass is its thinner blades and long, non-invasive roots.

Cons of Low-Maintenance Grass

While there are numerous benefits to using low-maintenance grass, there are also some downfalls. Some species require reseeding every year or every few years, which can be time-consuming. In addition, low-maintenance turf can also cost more initially, requiring a large upfront investment, especially if you have a large yard. If you are not familiar with turf installation, you may also need to hire a professional to do the job.

It’s also important to remember that not all grasses thrive in different environments. What’s native to one region may be invasive in another. Choosing the best turf grass for your geographic location will depend on several factors, such as how much sun your lawn receives. The best options for southern lawns are buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, and zoysia, while Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass are ideal for northern lawns.

What to Do with Lawn Clippings

During those once-a-month mowings, don’t discard your lawn clippings. Setup a compost bin to recycle grass clippings or reuse the clippings on your lawn as mulch. Lawn clippings are made up of mostly water and decompose quickly. As the grass clippings decompose back into the soil, they release nutrients back into lawn, which improves lawn quality and encourages natural soil aeration.