The grasses most commonly used on lawns in the US are a mixture of mostly non-native species from other parts of the world, like Europe. Lawn grass first became popular among wealthier individuals in England, and in the early twentieth century the US Department of Agriculture began looking for a mixture of grass species that would grow well on lawns in the US climate. Most native grass species do not make good lawn grass, because their growth is not neat or tidy enough to satisfy US homeowners; it’s partly for this reason that the grass we use for our lawns today mostly isn’t native to North America. At the same time, cultivating non-native grass species so that they will stay green year-round in the variable North American climate requires a lot of water, and sometimes synthetic fertilizers and herbicides as well. None of this is good for the planet; you can make your home landscape more Earth-friendly by replacing traditional grass lawns with rock gardens, a turf composed of hardier plant species like clover, or even flower beds. All of these choices tend to require less intensive management and environmental cost than a typical grassy lawn.
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