We’re Looking for Ecolawns!

A group of five people are looking at a series of ecolawn study plots, while a female scientist is talking about ecolawns.
Ecolawn research plots at OSU’s Lewis Brown Turfgrass Research Farm in 2019.
Photo: Brooke Edmunds, Oregon State University

What is an ecolawn?

An ecological lawn, or ecolawn, is a reduced input alternative to a conventional mowed grass lawn. While numerous possibilities for an ecolawn exist, they all include multiple low-growing herbaceous plants that work well together and require less mowing, fertilizer and irrigation. In addition to reducing maintenance and resource utilization, they also provide important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Help us find examples!

We are looking for examples of beautiful ecolawns throughout western Oregon. A few requirements:

  • Includes 3 or more different herbaceous broadleaf plants; additional grasses optional
  • Mutually compatible and ecologically stable when grown together
  • Installed for 2+ years (Spring 2021 or earlier)
  • All or most plants less than 1 foot in height
  • Looks good all year (and most of your neighbors would agree that it looks good 😊)
  • Needs little to no water to stay green through dry summer months
  • Little mowing (once per month to once per year)
  • Little or no fertilizer and no pesticides following installation

We want to find, understand and share your (or your neighbor’s) ecolawn. Ecolawns are part of a more sustainable future for Oregon. If you have a good example, please email 2-3 photos and contact information to Dr. Phil Allen, Visiting Professor in Horticulture at Oregon State University: allephil@oregonstate.edu

5 thoughts on “We’re Looking for Ecolawns!

  1. I would be interested in your results as I am looking to convert a grass area in the Douglas County Master Gardener Discovery Garden to an ecolawn. Very timely.

  2. We are really interested in eco-lawns! We are slowly moving to all native plants on our 21/2 acre property outside of Salem. However we have a huge area we have to plant in some type of lawn because it is the septic drain field. It was grass by previous owners, now mostly mowed weeds. We don’t want to dump gallons of water daily to have it slightly green during summer. It currently is dead from mid June until rains start. We want something that looks better year round and is enjoyable for dogs and grandchildren.

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