Lawn grass that does not need mowing?

chinwnc7aJuly 25, 2007

My dilemma: I live in Western North Carolina. My home needs a yard make-over. I want a very low maintenance yard. The yard is on a somewhat steep slope. I would like a grass that needs no mowing or maybe the occasional string trimmer. I'm sure such a grass exists but have no idea what it is. Can anyone here recommend something?


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Would be a good question for the ORnamental Grass forum as turf grass needs mowing.
There aer alternative ground covers such as irish moss, sedum, wildflowers and creeping juniper that does not require mowing. IF I were you, get more creative than just one ground cover and landscape that area with trees and shrubs. There is nothing more low maintenance than native habitat and it doesn't have to cost a dime to landscape with the native plants. Simply kill off our turf grass and then don't mow. Within a few seasons you will have plants and trees coming in on their own.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:28PM
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There is no turf grass that does not require mowing. The closest thing is what is known as LAZY MANS GRASS called Centipede. But it still require mowing every 7 to 10 days, lot of water, and a yearly application of fertlizer.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Do a search for no mow lawn. You'll lots of hits. You also might want to consider a clover and wildflower lawn like Fleur de Lawn. There are similar ones, too.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 11:59PM
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Thanks for your quick replies.

Bestlawn, thanks for the no mow idea, got lots of ideas from what I found.

Quirky, I think I will approach the design by ordering several of the varieties of no mow type seed. I plan to plant in drifts and see which do best in my area.

Buffalo grass sounds interesting but may not be the best match for my area.

Thanks again and keep them coming!!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:31AM
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blip01(7, NJ)

This was just addressed in another thread. This is want you want to plant.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:33AM
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The photo above shows what you're going to get in a "no-mow mix" except probably not so many colorful flowers. I think there is generally a lot of annuals in those mixes too.

NoMow's like anything else, you can let it grow and will look unkempt, it's not going to stay neat and short if you don't mow it. And you'll need to overseed periodically. And you're going to have weeds.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 9:16AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Most no-mow mixes are a mixture that includes sheeps fescue or chewings fescue and they include other fine leafed fescues. No-mow mixes are very slow growing and do make a nice turf. They are better for shady areas in the Northern Parts of the Continent.

My sister grows a no-mow lawn from Prairie Nursery (you can look them up online). She mows her lawn about twice a year. (Sometimes 3 times a year, if the weather is cool and damp.) Here are a couple pictures of my sister's no-mow lawn.

OP mentioned the area that he wants to plant is on a steep slope. Which is a concern when trying to establish slow growing grasses. If you do choose a no-mow fescue mix, I would highly recommend that you include an annual rye cover crop in the mix OR you cover the seeded bed with an erosion control blanket. The erosion control blanket acts a mulch, its tacked to the ground and it will hold the seed and the soil in place until the slow growing grass has a chance to get established. If you buy the right blanket, it will decompose into the soil, as the grass gets established. I probably would recommend North American Green S75 blanket. (You can look that up online.)

If you don't use a blanket, expect the seed and soil to end up at the bottom of the slope. FWIW, IME, blanketed slopes germinate better than non-blanketed slopes. The blanket is cheaper than regrading and reseeding the slope.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 10:11AM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)


That would probably work, as long as you don't have kids.

Here in the land of the deer tick (one of the worst areas for lime disease in the U.S.), it's not something that I would do.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 10:26AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

What wouldn't you do, grow no-mow grass?
Because of deer ticks?

You do realize that the deer would be in that lawn, no matter what the ground cover.

My sister has 5 children by the way. They set up a volleyball net in that back yard for family gatherings. The turf takes a beating from an all day volleyball tournament. But it does recover...slowly.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:17AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Why is it that everyone says they are in one of the worst areas for lyme disease. I have a friend who said that about where they live in Wisconsin and I have another friend in Georgia who said the same thing. And if I can consider turf toes my friend, then I have another friend in Pennsylvania with the same problem...

I think where you live probably is the greatest factor in one's chances of catching lyme disease. I doubt growing a no-mow turf is going to increase your chances. Its really not different than other fescue lawns, except that it grows slower, so it needs less mowing. (its not really NO-mow, it should be called, less-mow).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:24AM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

Well, I'm basing it on data from the CDC.

Deer ticks like tall uncut grass and weedy areas. The second picture you posted fits that description.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:10PM
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That pic with the deer, sorry to say it looks very tall/unkempt. Sis needs to mow more frequently to avoid stressing the grass. Try to not cut off more than 1/3 at a time. Judging by the deer being ankle deep in it, I'd say it's about 8"?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:23PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The point of having no mow grass is so that you don't have to mow. It is supposed to grow long.

The OP has a steep slope (that is probably difficult to mow) so he was looking for an ALTERNATIVE, that needs less mowing.

So its not the same as a typical short turf grass lawn. Its not supposed to look like a golf course putting green. And now OP can see what it looks like and decide if that is a look that he can live with.

And I bet a person could mow that type of lawn 5 or 6 times a year and have more managed look.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 1:26PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

I've got a mix of fine fescues in the back in shade. I mow it along with the rest of the tttf once a week or so. It probably doesn't need a weekly mowing though - at least in the summer heat. It would definitely still look lawn-like with mowing only every 2 weeks. Any more than that and it would start to look pretty unkept for a suburban lawn. That is really a personal preference though. If you are going for a little more "natural" look, it might work for you.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Pour a slab of concreat and put astro turf down, you will then need to replace the lawn about once every 10 years or so.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 4:46PM
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No way, the point of a no mow mix is so it doesn't look like an abandoned crack house with out of control grass there. There are groundcovers that grow slowly in height so that it does not look like the property is not maintained! Irish moss!

This is the first year I'm growing creeping red fescue which I know is popular for unmowed hillsides but this grass grows like a mother. I wouldn't want to use it somewhere that the lovely plumes of long grass would bother me such as in a small yard. Just too fast.

Now I have a blend of dwarf tttf that is used in "LOW-mow" and it actually does grow really slow. It hasn't needed mowing hardly at all and stays short.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 5:11PM
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How outdated this thread from 2007 seems in today's world. The sentiment about lawns in the US is a changing one. Those who feel we must have evergreen turf lawns (and must mow them) have lost numbers in their rank over the last 7 years. Secondary observation: those who aren't open to change tend to find a fear to attach to their rational.

Kudos to chinwnc7a for being a seeming pioneer in this forum. And kudos to joepyeweed for the same. If you're still around, chinwnc7a, what did you end up deciding to try and how did it work out?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 1:12PM
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