Stewardship Talk this Thursday: “An Alternative to Boring Midwestern Bluegrass and Fescue Lawns”

Our second winter stewardship talk is this Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 6:30 pm (VIRTUAL). Dr. Dan Carter will be talk about using native species for alternative lawns and landscapes. Imagine short native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers instead of fescue and bluegrass! Winter is a great time to start dreaming and planning for your summer gardening escapades.

Please register at https://oaklandtownship.recdesk.com. After you register you’ll receive an email with a link to the virtual event about 24 hours before the event starts. Keep scrolling to see more information about the event!

Stay safe, and I hope to see you at the talk!

Native plants can be used in all parts of the home landscape, from heavily-used lawns to quiet corners of the yard. Photo courtesy of Dan Carter.

“An Alternative to Boring Midwestern Bluegrass and Fescue Lawns” with Dr. Dan Carter

Blur the separation between daily life and nature by thinking about your lawn differently, and learn how to create home landscapes that allow your lifestyle and nature to co-mingle. This presentation will introduce how North American grasses, sedges, and wildflowers can be used to create alternative lawns and native gardens that are inspired by natural plant communities in the Midwest. Preparation, planting, and maintenance will be discussed.

Photo courtesy of Dan Carter

Dan Carter is Landowner Services Coordinator for The Prairie Enthusiasts, a conservation non-profit that protects fire dependent ecosystems in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. He is also a research associate and former research fellow with the Milwaukee Public Museum and owner of Dropseed Ecological and Botanical Services. Dan is lead-author of several scholarly articles in botanical and ecological journals and his primary hobby has been gardening with native plants since he was a teenager.

Alternatives to Boring Midwestern Bluegrass and Fescue Lawns — Prairie Botanist

I’m happy to share this blog post from Dr. Dan Carter, an ecologist and botanist who currently lives in southeast Wisconsin. Click the link below to read the full blog post, complete with beautiful pictures of his native lawn! Dan has been gardening with native plants in his home landscape for twenty years, where he actively experiments with alternative native lawns. His alternative lawn incorporates native plant species that can handle foot traffic and can be mowed occasionally, making them functionally the same as a conventional lawn.

Unfortunately, our high maintenance, low diversity, non-native, chemical-soaked lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States, to the detriment of butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects that support our food web. There is a lot of social pressure to keep a non-native lawn, but I hope this article will help you think twice about why you maintain your lawn and inspire you to try an attractive, native lawnscape. The butterflies will thank you, and I bet you’ll enjoy the buzz of life that returns to your little corner of the world. You can read more of Dan’s thoughtful blog posts on his website at prairiebotanist.com.

– Ben VanderWeide, Natural Areas Stewardship Manager

 

 

For most of us, home ownership carries with it the management of at least a small parcel of land, and usually this means maintaining a lawn. For the ambitious, this might also include perennial borders, shrubs, and trees. We all need outdoor space to recreate in. Our neighbors all have lawns. People seem to like them. Right?

I killed our bluegrass and fescue lawn. I have methodically replaced it over the last five springs, summers, and falls with species native to North America. Why? I’m an ecologist, and I see irreplaceable natural communities and ecosystems being degraded and destroyed every day and almost everywhere I go. Oftentimes, these types of environmental problems are large and intractable, and working against them is like screaming into the wind. One thing I can do is live my values at home. I also just like to be around plants and all of the organisms they attract. More than 500 North American plants are established on our half-acre lot […]

via Alternatives to Boring Midwestern Bluegrass and Fescue Lawns — Prairie Botanist