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We here at Native Landscaping are rather anti-lawns. Lawn maintenance requires an enormous amount of resources and causes a lot of pollution. From fertilizer run-off in to the waterways, noise pollution and exhaust from mowers, lawns really do demand a lot, and a lot of time. We have "grass" here but it is a mixture of a variety of things, not just fescue or bluegrass.
The kind of grass we do like? No, not that kind. We like native prairie grasses that can be added to your landscape to create attractive places for wildlife like birds to hang out as well as provide some pretty interesting screening around your property. Best part? You DON'T need to mow it.
Big Bluestem is one of those grasses. If you're a scientist, you might know it by the name Andropogon gerardii. If you're not, you might know it by its more common name, Turkey Foot Grass or as Big Bluestem. It has this name because during the spring, the grass' stem is in the blue-green spectrum but as the weather turns hot, switches to green-red then to red as the weather turns cool. That's fun!
Know what else is cool? The flower and seed heads. They come out in late summer and are 3-parted and spread like the foot of a turkey, reaching a top height of 8' in moist soils. Grass is a little shorter in dryer soils. The other awesome thing is that this grass has a great, extensive root system which makes it really good for erosion control.
So that hill that has grass on it that you think you might kill yourself on because you'll slip and fall and get run over by your own mower? Nah, call us, we'll remove that turn, plant some Turkey Foot Grass and not only will you not have to mow it, but it will look awesome. Problem solved!
(And as always, I humbly thank the Missouri Botanical Garden for their awesome pictures. The close-up of the seed head is from The College of DuPage.)