illustration comparing root depth of lawn/turf (shallow) and native species (deep)

Maintenance Intensive Lawns

Extensive areas of lawn on lakeshore properties present a variety of problems:

  • Loss of natural habitat and the rich diversity of life that it supports.
  • Removal of native vegetation that stabilizes shoreline.
  • Fertilizers and lawn chemicals seep into the lake.
  • Loss of leisure time by high maintenance demands.
  • High water requirements, particularly in drought years.
  • Grass clippings in the lake add nitrogen and phosphorus when they decay, leading to increased algae growth.
  • Shallow rooted turf grasses do not hold soil in place as well as deep-rooted native vegetation does (right).

Compare the root systems of the turf grass on the left of the illustration to the root systems of the other three native plant species.


large mowed area before restorationWith an interest in lakeshore restoration and reducing time and money spent on mowing, the City of Winona worked with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to restore 125 feet of shoreline on Lake Winona (photo right).

Native grasses, sedges, wildflowers, and shrubs were planted.

A path allowed citizens to walk through the project and enjoy the restored beauty and natural features.

restoration planting with path though center

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