Native turf grass is a hardier, deep-rooted grass that looks similar to traditional turf lawns but has the ability to stay green year-round and survive hot, dry, long summers with less need for fertilizer and water. Native turf’s extensive root systems help form deep, rich soils with high amounts of organic matter content that create ample pore space between soil particles to hold a high volume of moisture for long periods of time, beyond what conventional turf lawns are capable of holding.
One of the great benefits of planting native turf on a lawn is the grass's ability to acclimate to the local climate and correspond to specific regional season changes. Native turf is more likely to survive in locations that receive limited rainfall as well as areas with high clay content and compacted soils. At the same time, with its deep root system, native turf has the ability to absorb and infiltrate most rainfall, acting like a sponge, holding water during high flow events while shedding little runoff. This means less watering and fertilizing needed to care for a lawn with native turf than one with conventional turf grasses. Since native turf also requires less frequent to no mowing, property owners can also see a reduction in the time and money required for lawn maintenance.
The installation of native turf grass is as easy as reseeding a lawn. The old grass needs to be removed through killing or physically removing the sod. Similar to turf grass, the soil needs to be tilled and seeded well to allow grasses to grow close together and produce healthy thick sod. Maintenance is pretty minimal once the root systems are established. Watering and fertilizer is unnecessary and mowing but be eliminated or done on a limited basis. The unmowed areas will stay between 8 and 18 inches high.
The decision on what type of native turf grass to use may vary depending on the desired height. Some turf grass grows higher than others. Rainscaping Iowa recommends a few different combinations of Blue Grama, Buffalo Grass, and Sideoats Grama. While native turf can easily be undertaken without professional help, Rainscaping Iowa is an excellent source for finding Certified Rainscapers that have experience installing native turf as well as many other Best Management Practices. For more information on native turf benefits and installation, see the helpful links below.