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Only 28 more days to SPRING!

Early riser, the pasque flower is usually one of the first flowers seen in spring.

Thinking about transforming your landscape to be more ‘water-wise’ this coming landscape season?  Resource Central (formerly known as The Center for Resource Conservation) has quite a seminar line-up this spring, with some sessions that actually offer incentives to reduce turf through city-sponsored programs.   The City of Lafayette has piloted turf-removal programs these past two years partnering with CRC and their ‘Garden in a Box’ collections.  Now Boulder, Arvada, and Thornton are also offering incentives, rebates, or discounts to help homeowners transform their mono-culture lawns, into a haven for plant diversity and pollinators.

The Resource Central classes are FREE, but fill up fast!  See the complete list here, and sign-up soon.  Ecoscape’s Bill Melvin will be teaching the March 8th class at the Lafayette Public Library on the benefits of turning your turf into a Xeriscape.

Still not convinced that removing grass is worth the effort?  Here’s TEN great reasons to convert your turf  into xeriscape zones:

1) SAVE TIME.  Maintaining turf is time consuming.  Think of all the time you spend (or pay for someone to do it) mowing, fertilizing, aerating, weeding, string trimming edges, and monitoring sprinkler heads for problems.  Talk about a high-maintenance diva!

2) SAVE WATER. Kentucky bluegrass will use 24-26 inches of irrigation per growing season to produce the highest quality turf with no brown spots. Tall fescue will use 20-22 inches of irrigation per growing season, providing that a deep root system has been established, and substantial subsoil moisture exists.  Based on a Xeriscape Conversion Study (2005) by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a 33% reduction in monthly water use could be realized in converting turf areas to a xeriscape.

3) SAVE ENERGY.  Converting to a xeriscape does not mean replacing turf with a heat sinking span of rock ‘mulch’.  Turf can actually reduce home cooling requirements by as much as 4%.  To realize a bigger home energy savings, a xeriscape with plants, shrubs, and trees, can help shade your home, thus potentially saving your energy costs in summer by 46%.

4) LOSE the noise and pollution.  Gas powered mowers and two-cycle engines (aerators, blowers, and string trimmers) are noisy and smelly. Plants in a xeriscape garden don’t require such equipment.

5) CREATE habitat diversity.  Large areas of lawn are ‘mono-cultures’, meaning one type of plant.  This makes grass more vulnerable to disease and pests.  A landscape with a diversity of perennials, shrubs, and trees, means that if an undesirable pest attacks a particular plant, it will be limited in food supply because of the variety.  If the pest attacks your turf, and you have tons of it, the pest will have a huge food supply and better able to multiply unchecked.  Plant diversity also attracts beneficial insects, which will work on your behalf to keep pest-insects in check.

6) SET A GOOD EXAMPLE for others.  By committing to a water-wise community of plants, you can set a trend in your neighborhood to use natural resources wisely.

Ecoscape designed, plant-diverse front yard. No turf here!

7) REDUCE FRUSTRATION.  Ill-maintained turf can be an eye-sore.  Dog spot, fertilizer burn, weed pressure, brown spots, and sparse turf, are a constant reminder that something hasn’t been done right, and needs attention.  Turf reduction could actually lower your stress level!

8) INCREASE RESILIENCE. Adapted arid-tolerant plants and native cultivars thrive in the changing climate conditions of Colorado (droughts, water restrictions, etc…), turf – not so much. Year to year, season to season, invest in plants that are hardy and well-suited to our region.

9) BUILD SOIL.  Xeriscape areas benefit from mulch, made out of natural materials, such as straw, leaves, wood chips, and even paper in some cases. These items in turn will break down and create an excellent food source for the microbes living in your soil.  Feed the soil, and it will feed your plants.

10) BEAUTY ABOUNDS.  Xeric plants can be colorful, smell wonderful, and have many interesting shapes and textures.  Winter interest in the garden can be found when plants take on a frosty mantle.  We usually don’t think of turf in those terms, so replacing it with xeric plants can open up new aesthetic avenues and vistas all year round.