Push Back Your Lawn
The small steps we take on our own properties can help make major improvements to water quality and local wildlife. As a homeowner living along the Musconetcong River or its nearby streams, join our initiative and push back your lawn. Mow less and create a more nature-friendly environment or naturescape.
A lawn is a monoculture, an environment that almost exclusively features neatly trimmed grass. Nature thrives with diversity and the grass environment does not attract or support wildlife.
Typically, homeowners use herbicides to control weeds and fertilizers to foster growth. These noxious materials can easily be transported into the River or your groundwater.
Creating a naturescape can have numerous beneficial effects, including:
Saving money spent on chemical weed control;
Reducing harmful water quality impacts; and
Promoting a biodiverse environment for wildlife, like food and shelter.
If your lawn abuts the River or a stream, consider replacing it with a vegetated buffer strip made up of trees, shrubs, and flowering perennials that will grow along the stream bank. Unlike grass, that acts similarly to a paved road during a heavy rainstorm, this natural buffer will work to improve water quality by keeping sediment out of the river, stabilizing the streambank, storing water to reduce flooding, and providing much needed shade to keep the water temperature cool for trout.
When replacing your lawn, always use plants native to our region first. These plants attract local bees, butterflies and other beneficial wildlife. Also, consider the soil conditions when selecting plants. Areas closer to the River need plants that are more tolerant of wet conditions.
For assistance contact your local Rutgers Cooperative Extension office (each county has an office).
If you’re looking for native plants, watch out for the Musconetcong Watershed Association’s Native Plant Sale in April, 2021.