European chafer beetle battles: lawn alternatives

The European chafer beetles aren’t going away anytime soon. Recently, after a visit to my client’s place, I noticed his neighbour’s front lawn. I knew he talked about getting rid of the front lawn so he wouldn’t have worry about fixing damaged lawns.

My client on the other hand swears by his lawns. He wants them and even invested into a new sprinkler system to keep them happy. His other investment was hiring me to help him! You can do it, too, especially if you’re based in the Tri-Cities area.

Back to┬áhis neighbour’s front lawn. What do YOU see here?



Is this a good solution? I’m not so sure.

a) The look is weird on a street which is still dominated by green lawns. Unplanted mulch squares look bizarre. But hey, if the owner likes it…..for sure the days of mowing and fixing chafer damage are over.

b) Considering the slope, I have a feeling there will be soil and mulch erosion in the future. Turf grasses suck up water.


Evidence of rain runoff and thin layer of mulch


c) Weeds. I think this is the biggest flaw in this design. The mulch isn’t thick enough to keep weeds down. Eventually, birds and wind will bring weed seeds in. We already know from tree circle work that thin layers of mulch actually HELP weeds. Go thick, if you can.

d) Why the bare square? Why not plant something? Three houses up the hill, the owners installed mulch AND rocks and plants. It works much better. Landscape replaces turf grass and we have something to look at. Plants anchor the soil and mulch and, hopefully, outcompete any weeds.

I worry about the bare brown square of thin mulch. I would be willing to bet that weeds will pop up eventually. As I perform maintenance next door, I will monitor this square. It’s an interesting case study in lawn alternatives.

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