Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sustainable lawns - type of grasses

Grasses for sustainable lawns

There are varieties of grasses that are in use to have sustainable lawns.  In my previous blogs, I have mentioned that lawns are fast and cheap way to cover a large area of exposed land. Lawns can be found in residential houses, business complexes, industrial complexes, roadsides and many other places. One of the main functions of lawns is to cover the exposed areas of the land, prevent erosion and protect the environment. Lawns also have many other functions: control dust, keep the area cool, create a safe play area, increase property value, and many other functions. Lawns should be managed in an environmental friendly way to control pollutions like Non-Point Source (NPS).   (http://siddas1346.blogspot.com/2013/07/lawn-care-management-system.html)

Grasses differ from variety of ways, like fertility requirements, tolerance to heat / cold weather, shade, drought, salinity, pest and other.  Cool season grasses are used in the areas where it’s freezing winter and hot summer (http://www.scotts.com/smg/goART2/InfoHowTo/what-are-cool-season-grasses%3F/19500084///). 

Cool season grasses are like Kentucky bluegrass, Perennial ryegrass, Fine fescues and Tall fescue.   I will discuss the species of grasses that are widely used as cool season grasses. More information is available at: http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/forages/pubs/Georgia%20Forages%20-%20Grass%20Species.pdf

Here are characteristics of few grasses that are commonly used in the Northeast region of the USA:
§  Kentucky bluegrass: Insect tolerance is none, fertility from medium to medium high, recovery potential is excellent, shade tolerance is poor, heat tolerance is fair, wear tolerance is fair, drought tolerance is good and establishment quality is slow.
§  Fine fescues: Insect tolerance to some degree, fertility is low, recovery potential is poor, shade tolerance is very good, heat tolerance is fair, wear tolerance is poor, drought is excellent and establishment quality is medium to fast.
§  Perennial ryegrass: Insect tolerance to some degree, fertility is from medium to medium high, recovery potential is poor, shade tolerance is poor, heat tolerance is fair to poor, wear tolerance is excellent, drought tolerance is good, and establishment quality is fast.
§  Tall fescue: Insect tolerance is to some degree, fertility is from medium to medium high, recovery potential is poor, shade tolerance is from fair to good, heat tolerance is excellent, wear tolerance is excellent, drought tolerance is excellent and establishment quality is from medium to fast.
§  Annual ryegrass: Insect tolerance is fair, fertility is from medium to medium high, recovery potential is poor, shade tolerance is fair, heat  tolerance is poor, wear tolerance is from fair to good, drought tolerance is poor and establishment quality is very fast.

Most of the time blends of grasses are made for the purpose of specific uses.
§  Sunny and low maintenance lawns:  A mixture of fine fescue, perennial ryegrass blend and Kentucky bluegrass blend could be used.
§  Sunny and high maintenance lawns: A blend of Kentucky bluegrass blend, perennial ryegrass blend and fine fescue could be used.
§  Shady and well drained lawns: A mixture of fine fescue blend and shade tolerant Kentucky blend could be used.



The White House Lawn


There are verities of grasses that are used to create  sustainable lawns.  The conditions and usages of the lawn will determine type of grasses needed to be used.