Native and Naturalized Plants
Superintendents from the transition zone northward typically choose tall and fine fescues for low‑maintenance areas, while native warm-season grasses are utilized in the south. There is a difference in native and naturalized plants:
Naturally occur in the region or area in which they originally evolved. Buffalograss is the only turfgrass truly native to North America.
Non-native plants that are introduced to an area and do not need human intervention to reproduce and maintain themselves over time. Most turfgrasses are naturalized plants.
Best Management Practices for Weed Control
Because 100% weed control in low-maintenance areas isn’t realistic, superintendents usually choose one of two methods of managing them:
- Let nature take its course – Take no action except occasional mowing
- Control only certain weeds – Take mechanical or chemical steps to control the most invasive weeds
Mechanical Weed Control
- Mowing native areas one to three times in the spring and/or fall is usually enough for weed control
- Hand digging, cutting, string trimming if few weed populations are low enough
Chemical Weed Control Methods
- Use a non-selective herbicide to eliminate weeds before planting native/naturalized grasses to the area
- Remember that products that control non-desirable broadleaf weeds in the native grass area will also control or injure desirable broadleaf plants