Flowering Bee Lawns
Lawns are traditionally ornamental or recreational plantings of turfgrass that are mowed and managed to achieve a desired aesthetic. While turfgrasses are used for a variety of functions, such as sports fields and erosion control, lawns are typical of homes and businesses and are generally established for aesthetic purposes showing neatness and care.
A flowering lawn differs from a traditional lawn in having flowering plants as well as turfgrasses. Benefits of a flowering lawn include: increased lawn resilience to environmental pressures, natural diversity that benefits bees and other pollinators and insects, and the beauty of the flowers themselves.
While flowering lawn weeds such as dandelions and creeping charlie are often seen as a nuisance, they can actually have benefits to lawns in addition to bees. They may be better adapted than turfgrasses to difficult site conditions such as compacted soil, drought, flooding, shade, and low nutrient availability.
The downside to lawn weeds such as dandelion and creeping charlie is that they are widely reviled by homeowners. This “bad rep” can create social pressures to remove them even if the lawn manager is tolerant of diverse lawns and realizes how plant diversity benefits pollinators. A homeowner may choose to keep flowering weeds if they do not spread aggressively into neighboring lawns. A good alternative is to follow our instructions for planting less aggressive flowers into lawns.
Are you interested in the benefits of a flowering lawn? Are you going to seed flowers directly into your lawn, or would you like to plant a flowering lawn from scratch? Will you seed native, or non-native flowers into your lawn? What about common weedy flowers in lawns? Here (PDF) we provide a number of practices that can increase your success, and provide native and non-native flower suggestions based on our current research trials at the University of Minnesota.
Flowering Lawn Informational Handout click here