Today I went on a road trip to see Buffalo Grass.
Buffalo Grass, if you're not familiar with it, is a type of native grass. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about having problems with erosion in my subdivision common ground. The Trustees (of which I'm one) are trying to get the problem fixed. The company that currently maintains the area for us suggested overseeding the area (yet again!) with fescue. That hasn't worked in the past, so I volunteered to investigate alternatives.
I talked with a Private Land Conservationist for St. Louis County, who sent me information about native plants and grasses. However, nothing compares to actually seeing and feeling something, so before I reported back to the other trustees I wanted to see buffalo grass in person.
According to their Website, the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles has buffalo grass planted at their headquarters building. Tony jumped at the chance to come with me; he actually volunteered to make a picnic lunch for us to eat there.
The conservation area is just a couple of miles from the intersection of 40 and 94. Although a good portion of the area is forest, it's probably known more for its fishing lakes. I didn't even know there was a visitor's center there. The building was situated close to the entrance of the park. Unfortunately, there was a sign that said it was closed on weekends.
I started walking around the exterior of the building, which was very nicely landscaped with many native plants. I saw what I thought was buffalo grass. Although I'd read it can grow 6"-8" tall, this had been cut short, just like a regular lawn. I sat on it and it was very soft. However, it had quite a bit of crabgrass and other annual weeds growing in it, which made it unattractive. Since there was no one in the office to answer my questions, we found a picnic table to eat lunch at, then moved on.
I like the idea of using native plants whenever possible, but they may not give our common ground the manicured lawn look people expect around here. After I get all the information, I'll present my findings to the Trustees so we can decide which way we want to go with the project.