With 40 million acres devoted to grass lawns in the U.S., we may want to consider other alternatives for our yards. Manicured lawns are basically biological deserts — mono-cultures of one or two species rather than diverse system of plants and animals like a native forest or grassland. Taking care of these lawns is hard on the environment: synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can pollute our ground and water; gas-powered mowers use up fuel and pollute the air; copious amounts of good drinkable water keep the grass green; and houses and lawns cover over former agricultural land.
The editors of this newsletter wish to present some other choices than Kentucky bluegrass lawns in this and upcoming issues. In this issue please see the book review on Bringing Nature Home about re-planting our yards with native plants. In future issues we will look at xeriscaping, drip irrigation, more on choosing and planting native plants, and replacing at least part of our lawns with vegetable gardens.
Here are a couple of resources on xeriscaping: Xeriscape – Greater Yellowstone Area, A guide for Landscaping with Less Water; download at
If you are seriously looking into xeriscaping, do request Creating Native Landscapes in the Northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains from our office, or you can also download a copy at http://www.nrcs.us FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/mtpmcpunatland.pdf