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Lawn removal tips from UC Davis experts

Lawn removal and design tips from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden team:

Cary Avery, associate director, grounds and landscape services: “If you are trying to get rid of Bermuda grass, don’t rush the process. Spray it with an herbicide, wait for it to die, remove it, then, if you can, give it another growing season to pop-up and repeat the steps above. You’ll be glad you did.”

Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture, UCD Arboretum: “Davis residents have a leg up in the lawn-removal process living so close to the Arboretum Teaching Nursery. The plants we’ve selected for this conversion are available at our plant sales. Attractive, low-water, easy-care, region-appropriate plants, that’s our specialty … no need to reinvent the wheel! We’ve removed a lot of the guesswork typically associated with this kind of project.”

Andrew Fulks, director, UCD Putah Creek Riparian Reserve and campus naturalized landscapes: “Leaving a bare patch of dirt in your yard for a season or two while your grass dies can be difficult. Consider spreading wildflower seed over the area in the meantime, like we did on La Rue Road. The growth will provide a season of color and beauty as well as deliver necessary nutrition to your soil.”

Matt Forrest, irrigation supervisor, UCD grounds and landscape services: “We switched our irrigation delivery in the median from spray to sub-surface drip line. Now, instead of measuring water use by gallons per minute, we’ll measure water use in gallons per hour! We’ll be providing moisture in the soil where the plants need it most instead of wasting water by spraying it into the air.”

Christina de Martini Reyes, landscape architect, campus planning and landscape architecture: “Designing the median of a busy street requires a whole different way of looking at landscapes. The goal is to deliver engagement without distraction and consistency without monotony. For me, the key to achieving this goal was incorporating one of the Central Valley’s most versatile native trees, the valley oak. It unified the median while allowing the landscape beneath to shift in pattern and composition.”

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