A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – Oct 23, 2023 – Cornell’s Natural Lawn

Reducing the footprint of our lawns has been a key environmental message for gardeners in recent years, since lawns lack biodiversity, and involve huge amounts of pollution between fertilizers, herbicides and the gas used in mowing. But what to cultivate instead? That is the subject of a nearly 15-year research project called the native lawn at Cornell Botanic Gardens, in Ithaca, NY, with some interesting insights. 

My guest today is Todd Bittner, a plant ecologist, who with his Cornell Botanic Gardens colleagues began a quarter-acre research experiment known as the native lawn demonstration area. 

“Please DO Walk on these Plants” a sign on a pedestal there tells visitors, explaining that it’s a test of “a mix of low-growing native plants” as an alternative to traditional lawn. I’m so glad he’s here to tell us more about what they have learned along the way. 


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