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Old 07-03-2015, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
241 posts, read 297,210 times
Reputation: 139

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I want to replace my lawn with native plants/ pollinator plants. I like reduced maintenance, encourage bees, and not have the emissions of the lawnmower and worse yet, the weedeater.... Does anyone know where to start? I've been doing some research online, but was hoping that someone can recommend a skilled landscaper who services Durham and knows about these things?
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
10,982 posts, read 11,742,294 times
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I'd recommend both Niche Gardens (pretty sure they offer landscaping services but if not they would probably know folks) and the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
241 posts, read 297,210 times
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Yea, the botanical garden has great knowledge. As government employees they cannot recommend anyone though. I'll check niche out!
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:28 PM
 
Location: NC
6,882 posts, read 8,475,563 times
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Unless you are lucky, a native plants 'lawn' will not necessarily be low maintenance. If you want a colorful flowering species, something like a legume groundcover might work, for example clover or vetch or matua. You can encourage some weeds to take over, for example ladysthumb or perilla if you have shade. These last two are highly invasive once they get started though and you will need to think of your neighbors(!). Of course grasses also have petal-less 'flowers', so they can be native species but they don't attract bees.

If you are aiming for something more complicated, such as winding drifts of less aggressive plants, you will be forever attempting to nurture the weak ones while limiting the stronger ones. But if you think of it like a huge planned garden you might have some attractive and eco-friendly results. BTW I have pastures with lots of ecofriendly species, but keeping out noxious weeds is a lot of work.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
241 posts, read 297,210 times
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Urgh.... I want no now and go. I have three acres bordered by woods, not worried about stuff spreading too far. How do they get wild flowers on the side of the highways?
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:13 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
1,162 posts, read 2,421,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wndsofchng06 View Post
Urgh.... I want no now and go. I have three acres bordered by woods, not worried about stuff spreading too far. How do they get wild flowers on the side of the highways?
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
Unless you are lucky, a native plants 'lawn' will not necessarily be low maintenance. If you want a colorful flowering species, something like a legume groundcover might work, for example clover or vetch or matua. You can encourage some weeds to take over, for example ladysthumb or perilla if you have shade. These last two are highly invasive once they get started though and you will need to think of your neighbors(!). Of course grasses also have petal-less 'flowers', so they can be native species but they don't attract bees.

If you are aiming for something more complicated, such as winding drifts of less aggressive plants, you will be forever attempting to nurture the weak ones while limiting the stronger ones. But if you think of it like a huge planned garden you might have some attractive and eco-friendly results. BTW I have pastures with lots of ecofriendly species, but keeping out noxious weeds is a lot of work.
The NCDOT has help with the wildflower/pollinator program along the highways via funding from private sources and some public $$. It's not easy and quite labor intensive.

Also totally agree with luv4horses in that a "native" lawn is extremely labor intensive. So you might want to think of something a bit easier. Not sure where you live but if you have an HOA, check out their rules to see if you can even do this ( in the land of pristine lawns, I would be viewed as a pariah if I did this!). Also need to consider what the municipal code is for weeds, especially noxious ones.

Maybe consider xeriscape instead? We've used low water-use pollinator plants in mulched beds to cut watering costs.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,665 posts, read 4,343,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wndsofchng06 View Post
I want to replace my lawn with native plants
Poison Ivy and crabgrass are native plants.

Here is a link to info on pollinator friendly plants
Pollinator Friendly Plants | North Carolina Cooperative Extension
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:33 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,463 posts, read 43,340,823 times
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A native yard does have some maintenance and does need mowed down in the Fall.

Also, if you have neighbors with traditional lawns be prepared for complaints and visits from your local Code Enforcement people. Have your references and reasoning ready, in written form with multiple copies for multiple visits.

You may have to finally do as Mrs. NBP and I did and retain an attorney.
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:19 AM
 
Location: NC
6,882 posts, read 8,475,563 times
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If you have three acres, my suggestion is to buy a pasture mix at the local agricultural supply store. It will be balanced with grasses and nitrogen-enhancing legumes. Plant it, amend the soil as suggested from a soil test, and then just keep it mowed to 4 to 6 inches. The plants will establish, and weeds may come in, but the mowing will keep the bad ones from taking over while keeping the soil stabilized via the grasses.

If you drive around, you will see that most of the older properties have nice green 'lawns' that are mowed via tractor or riding mower, but nobody attempts a monoculture lawn like you see the the suburbs. It is easy, sustainable (the plants grow that like it there), and the least maintenance, while still being appropriate and attractive.

Edited to add: be sure the grasses are perennial not annual

Last edited by luv4horses; 07-04-2015 at 08:42 AM..
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
10,982 posts, read 11,742,294 times
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Are you wanting grass? I didn't get grass from your post and was assuming you're talking about shrubs etc. If you just let a meadow go around here you know it will all wNt to go back to forest eventually. Talk to Niche and I think they could help you.
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