by Connie Oswald Stofko
Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn.
Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants.
Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
If you like butterflies, choose plants that are homes for their babies– caterpillars.
If you like birds, include shrubs and trees to provide habitat for them as well as food. Caterpillars are food for baby birds, and native species of trees support more caterpillars than non-native trees do, according to the National Audubon Society.
See a list of local native plants, including trees, here.
You don’t have to get rid of grass to get rid of lawn; just stop mowing. Let the grass grow long and have a meadow area.
Although you might not see them, fireflies spend the day resting among the blades of grass, according to the DEC. The more you mow, the less inviting your lawn is for fireflies.
If you turn part of your lawn into a garden or meadow, you will spend less time mowing.
Using native plants will save you time as well. Native plants are adapted to our climate and soil conditions. Once they’re established, you rarely have to water most native plants.
Have cleaner air
Running a gas-powered mower for an hour emits the same amount of pollution as a 20-mile car trip, according to the DEC. If you decrease the area of lawn you have to mow, you will decrease the amount of air pollution emitted.
Bonus tip: Electric mowers are much cleaner.
Grassless front yards are so popular in Western New York that they are referred to as Buffalo-style gardens. If you want to be part of that trend, convert a section of your lawn from grass to garden. You can do it a little at a time.
You can even start now. Set down several layers of newspaper or cardboard on the section of lawn you’d like to convert to garden. The grass should be dead by the time you’re ready to plant. Here’s a way to do it starting in spring.