April 8, 2012
The Secret of a “No Mow” Lawn
BTW: This is our 100th blog post!
Anyone interested in sustainability and landscaping has read about “no mow” lawns and wondered if this is the creation of some flim-flam man or a real option. One must wonder, for if indeed there were such a thing as a “no mow” lawn surely everyone would want one? Minimizing mowable areas is a qualification for LEED EB certification so it seemed like something to look into.
To explore the veracity of the “no mow” claim, I googled it on line and discovered the “no mow” web site in which 1 lb of seed is sold for $ 25.00 and covers 1000 square feet. Given that one can purchase a 25lb bag of seed for $ 25.00, this seemed a little steep, and with the price, a possible explanation for the lack of “no mow” fever is the unusually high cost. The high cost plus the fact that no one seems to have these lawns adds to the snake oil salesman image of this product as one goes through the website, but reading on, the site states that the “no mow” lawn grows from 4”-6” in height. The height might be another major inhibitor given that most folks think that 4” much less 6” is pretty shaggy.
Nevertheless, tireless explorer of sustainable landscape innovation that I am, I ordered a bag. A week later the box arrives. With a mix of trepidation and excitement I open it and look at the bag. It is filled with teeny little seeds and what appears to be sand. Great, I have now paid for a pound of grass seed and gotten a half a pound of sand with the half a pound of seed! I read the label and the ingredients are bent grass, weed seed and inert matter. Incidentally, all grass seed comes with weeds and they are required by law to report the percentage of “weeds”, which are seeds that are not grass, so at least this is normal and by the book. The odd thing is that the miracle “no mow” lawn is bent grass.
If you’re a golfer, you come across bent grass all the time on the putting green. It’s one of the few grasses that can stand to be cut super short, and because it is a very fine grass will grow super dense. Now I am interested as I have never heard of using bent grass as a regular lawn grass. I Google “bent grass” and find that in fact, it was the first grass seed introduced in the United States by European colonists to reproduce the lawns from their homeland…..that would be before we had our fancy mowers. Reading on at the seedland.com site, there are several varieties of bent grass with different uses and it is a very expensive grass some varieties of which are applied a half pound of seed per 1000 square feet.
So it’s a different kind of scam, the kind I’m familiar with, where you take something people did before we had a chemical culture and repackage it as an eco-innovation! The bad news, is these “no mow” guys are not 100% “on top” as this is a return to the 1500’s in terms of the approach to lawns. The sand with the seed is really very annoying, but I’m sure if I called there would be a semi-believable explanation like “it keeps the seed from clumping together” . God bless ‘em for being creative because after all there is no requirement in business that one reveal where the “innovation” came from. The good news is the stuff probably works! I’m going to play with the stuff, check in with me in a couple of months as bent grass is very slow to establish.
Posted in: Lawns