May 04, 2010
Greening the Manicured Lawn
Envision a new paradigm in site master planning where there is little manicured lawn. Native and adaptive trees and shrubs are massed as reforestation, placing a strong focus on healing the land with regional ecosystems. Knee high sweeping meadows require mowing only once a year. Design elements work to mimic or model the surrounding natural systems.
Traditional fescue/bluegrass lawns are not native to this area and currently do not qualify for LEED® habitat re-establishment credit in Virginia.
Researchers like Pennington Seed are continually experimenting to develop the best alternatives to the manicured lawn……which requires three times the water of shrub beds, weekly mowing for six-eight months of the year and continuous fertilization.
At Timmons Group, we are always looking for the solution that saves money and, at the same time, enhances the quality of the site. We have found a couple of real winners:
- Slopemaster™ has traditionally been used for slopes that are greater than 3:1 and considered un-mowable. The beauty is that this seed mix works on flat slopes with minimum maintenance requirements, and qualifies for habitat re-establishment credits.
- Clover is the dynamic ingredient in the mix. Clover has stolons and will colonize the open areas between the bunch-type grasses to increase cover factor and reduce erosion.
- Slopemaster™ is more heat and drought tolerant than Kentucky Blue Grass or Perennial Rye Grass.
- Slopemaster™ can be seeded year round, as there is a warm and cool mix, eliminating the need for two seedings (temporary seeding/final seeding) with a fescue/bluegrass mixture.|
Price comparison-Final Seeding For a savings of $31 / acre you can have a truly sustainable vegetation mix for your slopes that includes perennial grasses, legumes (clover), 10% PRG –as a nurse crop- and is treated with mycorrhizae and Germ Max seed enhancements as well.
- 60/40 (KBG/PRG) @ 200 # / ac @ $1.75/# = $350 / acre
- Slopemaster @ 75# / acre @ $4.25/ # = $319 / acre
- Price comparison-Erosion/Sediment Control Seeding will cost $315/acre using the warm season or cool season mixes at 75#/acre. This provides approximate savings of $100 per acre over the cost of traditional seeding recommended by VA E&S guidelines for Low Maintenance Slopes in the Piedmont (108# Fescue, 2# Red Top, 20# Crown Vetch and 20# nurse crop), while also providing an improved stand of sustainable vegetation.
Flexterra® Flexible Growth Medium™
- Flexterra utilizes Thermally Refined® wood fibers, crimped man-made fibers and performance-enhancing additives.
- Flexterra has been approved by VDOT as an alternative to blankets with superior erosion control and has proven faster germination rates.
- Nutrients and organics can be added to the hydro-seed mix to save manual distribution and dollars.
Evolving technical advances in habitat establishment support our goals of achieving stewardship and restorative landscapes.