Our continuing experiment with several patches of uncut lawn grass, heavily interspersed with yarrow, aster, thyme, goldenrod, black eyed susan, violets, etc continues to be fascinating. In addition to adding a sculptural element: after two years the paths are increasingly well defined, along with a sense of movement; the ecological change is staggering.

Last night I had the occasion to sit out near one of the patches and listen. The tall grass was the source of all of the insect noise, so loud that it was almost distracting. The short grass lawns were dead silent.  It was no surprise that the two phoebes were hunting the tall grass.  Each bird had his/her patch of fence line and all of their hunting took place in the tall grass areas.

I’ve also noted that the young white oak only began to grow well when it was in taller grass. Now that may be coincidence, or the taller grass may in fact trap more water and keep the soil cooler.

What are the drawbacks? Well, the more insect life thing does mean a greater possibility of ‘bad’ insects: yellowjackets and ticks. I haven’t figured out the best way to control the goldenrod and heart-leaved wood aster (both of which are take-over artists), and I have yet to figure out how best to cut the tall-grass areas. Late fall, I think, but how? String trimmer or scythe and then rake it all up seems to be the best idea so far.

Best management practices and the tweaking thereof will continue to evolve!