New Home, Dead Grass

oceanstewMarch 22, 2013

Hello -
Just purchased a home in Pompano Beach, FL, about a mile west of ocean. The soil is complete sand, which baffles me. The home had grass which was really just weeds and the company that sprayed for white flies also killed all the weeds. I hated to do it but all the trees were coated in white flies and the ficus hedge was completely denuded.
1. I would like to have no grass as from reading it seems to be a resource drain on so many levels but what do I do with the strip of land between the road and the sidewalk? The house is on Harbor Drive which has a green strip down the center and on my side there is a strip of land between the road and the sidewalk which neighbors have filled with grass or weeds masquerading as grass. Who owns that bit of land?
2. Where would I find the laws on this? I would like to plant something that is native, easy to care for and looks psuedo grassy but I'm not sure of the restrictions if any. Does anyone know? Any ideas on what to plant? And the trash gets wheeled and dumped there twice a week so I'm wondering if anything will grow.
3. Also does anyone know of someone who sells bulk compost in Broward County?
4. And what is the best mulch for South FL?
And as I'm sure everyone else has experienced this sand stresses me out. I know many wonderful things grow as I've seen the small bits of native landscape that remains but it's not the soil I'm used to. Thank you very much in advance for sharing your wisdom. Tami in Pompano Beach

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zzackey(8b GA)

Florida is mostly sand. Don't stress out! Maybe centipede grass would work for you. Not sure if it would do well having the trash rolled on it. St. Augustine is popular here. I guess you need to check the regulations first. Some places require only a certain grass be used. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

You could try using the native Beach Sunflower as a groundcover in lieu of the grass. It grows on... well... beaches and would readily take to your mile-inland yard. Once it gets established it really takes off and will reseed itself enough to fill in the yard in a fairly short time. The best place to grow this stuff is in an area where you really don't mind it running rampant, because it will. It is also fairly drought resistant and will thrive off of native rainfall, so you won't have to worry about dipping into those natural resources to keep it going. The caveat is that Beach Sunflower definitely does not look 'grassy'.

Another native alternative might be Sunshine Mimosa. This will come closer to giving that 'grassy' look... from a distance. With enough Mimosa growing, the area will look like a mat of green, so if you squint your eyes or look at it from a short distance, it does look like a green lawn. And it never gets taller than 3". So you won't have to worry about mowing it. The only time you 'might' think about mowing is if you have spent flowers (they have pink pom-pom flowers that look like mini truffula trees) that you want to remove. But personally I would just let the flowers go to seed and keep reseeding the yard for you, ensuring that 'mat of green' look. Another minor bonus to Sunshine Mimosa is that it is touch sensitive. If you have kids or grandkids (or an easily amused spouse, like mine), they will probably get a kick out of poking the leaves and watching them curl up in response. Sunshine Mimosa is also drought resistant.

Of the two, I think Mimosa is a bit more tolerant to foot-traffic, so it would be more likely to endure with the garbage runs. But the Beach Sunflower has the upper hand in reseeding itself and filling in the area quicker.

The State of Florida actually encourages using native plants instead of turf grasses and such. The problem tends to be with local government or HOA's. Back in '06, the State passed a law saying that nobody can be prevented from planting Florida-Friendly (water-friendly) yards. However, this doesn't give us the right to run rampant and completely replace turf-grass with natives. If you live in a neighborhood that has by-laws, it could be that they require that 50-60% of your front lawn to be turf-grass. Even your city might have laws determining what you can and can't have in your front yard, though I would expect these restrictions would come more from a neighborhood council than the city. You can contact your Extension Office and they can help you to figure out what restrictions Pompano Beach might have. If any.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:07PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Asiatic jasmine.

Carol in Jacksonville

Here is a link that might be useful: Eliminating grass and how to solve the problem

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:36PM
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stuartwanda(N. Stuart)

The strip between the road and sidewalk is usually city or county property even though you are to keep it mowed. Best to ask neighbors or call the extension office.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:34AM
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Thank you for your help. So much to learn but love the beach sunflower and sunshine mimosa suggestions. They would both work well. Happy Gardening....

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 1:57PM
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