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Ground cover for hiking trail?

Posted by chris_7oaks WI - Zone 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 28, 10 at 10:51

My mowed hiking trail is 600' in length and 4' wide. There is good-quality mesic prairie on one side of the trail, but the other side is more old field that has some natives but many weeds as well. I like to keep my trail mowed, it does have some seasonably moist spots, and there is more exposed soil than I would like. I am just looking to keep some sort of cover that will keep the weeds out and stabilize the soil, that will not pose a threat to the prairie plantings. Is there a native grass that could serve the purpose and handle the routine mowing? I may just seed it with Lolium multiflorum (annual rye) because it is inexpensive and easy to grow, but I'd need to do that each spring. I'm not sure what to do & looking for other ideas? Thank you...

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RE: Ground cover for hiking trail?

  • Posted by hortster 6A, southcentral KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 18, 10 at 18:22

My first vote would be buffalo grass, Buchloe dactyloides. The USDA shows it as hardy in your area (WI). Three things that buffalo grass needs (in KS, anyhow) is 1) heavier soil (doesn't like sandy or sandy loam), 2) to be mowed at 2-3" when indeed mowed (maxes at about 5-6"), but initially mowed consistently to stifle weeds and to allow thorough establishment - which usually takes two to three repeated years. NO fertilizers as that often promotes the weeds and forbs more than the buffalo. Buffalo does not like weed killers, either. A true natural that was here before we were.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA website

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