Re-envisioning an American Tradition: the Turfgrass Lawn

Lawn alternative planting of Sporobolus heterolepsis at the Scott Arboretum. photo credit: R. RobertIn today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, garden writer Virginia A. Smith discusses the alternatives to having a traditional turfgrass lawn. The turfgrass lawn has been an icon of the American landscape since the mid-19th century. There is movement slowly building through the US to consider more environmentally friendly alternatives to these water-intensive, fertilizer-dependent, monoculture plantings.

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Carex plantaginea. photo credit: R. Robert

At the Scott Arboretum, we have been trialing lawn alternatives for over 3 years. Our current favorites include Carex pensylanica, Carex laxiculmus Bunny BlueTM , Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’, and Carex plantaginea. Check out more about our program and the plants we are trailing in the Green Design brochure. Read what sustainable garden writer Susan Harris had to say about our program and plant selections.

To learn more about re-envisioning our turfgrass lawns check out Virginia Smith’s article and her interview with Chuck Hinkle, the garden supervisor at the Scott Arboretum, who oversees our lawn alternative program.

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  1. How about no lawn as an alternative?

  2. That is a good idea. As Virginia Smith discusses in her article, some people are simply planting more garden and less lawn.

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