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FutureStarrSlow Growing Grass
Tired of spending summer weekends with a noisy lawn mower? Here's an alternative: the slow-grow lawn. With a small investment, you can convert your existing turf into fine fescue. These grasses are green and lush, but naturally slow-growing, so you mow only four to five times a year. And if you don't mind a slightly shaggy look—many find it attractive—you only need to fire up the mower one or two times each season. Another benefit of a slow-grow lawn: You can interplant with small, spring-blooming bulbs that will bloom, grow and mature before the lawn is ready for its first cutThese grasses are often part of seed mixes for shady lawns, although the fine fescues flourish in sunny locations, too. They thrive in a large part of the U.S.: from Washington, DC, in the south to the border regions of Canada and west through the central and upper Midwest, as well as the Pacific Northwest. As long as the soil is well-drained, these adaptable grasses are drought-tolerant and—if mixed with clover—require little or no fertilization. However, fine fescues will not tolerate poorly drained, persistently damp soil.With feeding, watering and mowing, taking care of your lawn can be a time-intensive commitment. If you are tired of that, or simply want to create a more natural-looking lawn, grass varieties that do not require mowing offer a practical solution. No-mow grasses work because they either grow very slowly during the mowing season or they reach a maximum height that doesn't require mowing.Two types of Mondo Grass suitable for no-mow situations are Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') and Kyoto Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nana'). Black Mondo grass grows slowly, reaching a height of 6 inches or less. Its dense, purplish-black, grasslike foliage is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10. For even shorter grass, plant 'Kyoto Dwarf' mondo grass since it only reaches 3 to 4 inches tall. This drought-tolerant grass has very low, carpetlike growth and is suitable for xeriscaping. It is hardy to USDA zones 7 through 9.
Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) is a coarse-textured, apple-green grass with a creeping growth habit that forms a dense turf. Because of its slow rate of growth, it is often called lazy man's grass. If the grass is not mowed, it will reach about 4 to 6 inches. The grass remains green throughout the year in mild climates. Since it does not tolerate heavy traffic, it is best suited for low-maintenance turf areas. Centipedegrass is well adapted to sandy, acidic soils and is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.For ditches or other areas where height is not an issue, Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) is a salt-tolerant grass that works well. This medium-to coarse-bladed grass has a dense root system and can grow up to 20 inches in height. It is a light- to medium-colored grass that requires moderate amounts of water and fertilizer. It tolerates traffic and recovers quickly from moderate wear during spring and summer. Seashore paspalum has a high tolerance for heat, can handle some shade and is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10.Zoysia grass is a slow-growing, warm-weather perennial grass that thrives in marine and temperate climates. It is highly drought tolerant, but still prefers high humidity. It tends to grow into a tight, matlike structure, and can form small mounds on the ground when it's left unmowed. Due to its dense, lush nature, it naturally resists weeds, and can make a great grass for foot traffic and active use. It goes dormant over winter, but returns to life early in spring, since it's one of the most cold-tolerant warm-season grasses. (Source: www.treehugger.com)