We never spray our lawn at Winding Pathways. Occasionally, that yields an exciting discovery like what happened in early May.
We wanted to plant a tree, preferably an oak, on the south side of our garage. But, we got busy and never found time to buy or plant one. One morning Rich, while walking across the lawn to fetch the morning newspaper, spotted a baby white oak tree that sprouted exactly where we wanted to plant one. It was serendipity.
Plant ecologists talk about the “seed bank.” In land that hasn’t been greatly disturbed by plowing, spraying or compacting of soil, seeds of desirable native plants often remain dormant in the soil for years or decades. Then, when conditions are right they’ll sprout like magic. Other desirable plants spread their seed through the wind or enlist the help of a hungry squirrel to carry and bury a nut or acorn. That’s probably how our new oak got planted.
Before mowing walk across your unsprayed lawn. You may discover a plant you want that is starting to grow. Just mow around it to let it thrive. Mark it with a stake or fence it off from rabbits and deer. If the plant is not quite in the right place, remember that tiny plants are usually easy to move with just a shovel full of dirt.
About seven years ago we found another baby oak in our lawn. We protected it from mowing and ran a screen around it to keep hungry deer away. It’s now about seven feet tall and growing rapidly.
That black oak didn’t cost a penny and will grace our yard long after we’re gone.
Another way to go about natural or plant and wildlife friendly yards is to deliberately plant certain forbs and grasses to attract a variety of beneficial insects and interesting birds and other wildlife.