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The original item was published from 4/21/2017 6:50:23 PM to 6/28/2017 4:35:02 PM.

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Natural Resources

Posted on: May 31, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Have Shoreline Lawn Care Headaches? A Buffer Might be the Answer

Yards next to waterbodies can present some interesting maintenance challenges. Erosion, nuisance animals, debris, and mowers getting stuck can all be problems. Native plant buffers can often reduce the damage these problems cause…

Many of us, if we have the Shoreline Buffermeans, flock to the shoreline.  There are definite perks to living on a waterbody: the view, nature, and in some cases recreation.  That said, the area of your yard next to the water can be difficult to maintain: waves can cause erosion, fluctuating water levels can cause slumping, geese eat up your lawn and leave a mess behind, mowers can get stuck in muskrat runs or soggy soils, steep slopes can make mowing risky, debris can be washed on the shore if the wind is right.  Fortunately, there is a way to lessen these maintenance headaches.

A buffer of native plants, a strip of 15 feet in width planted adjacent to the water, can offer an attractive maintenance solution for the shoreline:

Buffers Reduce Erosion and Prevent Slumping
The extensive plant roots of native plants anchor soil in place, can tolerate water level fluctuations, and reduce the erosion power of waves.


Geese Avoid Buffers

Geese like a clear line of sight when choosing a place to lounge and eat.  Geese also enjoy the tender new shoots of grass that grow in lawns.  Geese avoid buffers for the fear of predators lurking in them.


Buffers Don’t Require Mowing

The maintenance for buffers is similar to that of a garden.  Once established, the occasional biannual weeding is all that is required.  No stuck mowers in muskrat runs or soggy soils; no scary slopes to mow.


Buffers Block Debris

While some debris will always collect on the shoreline, buffers can keep the bulk of it from washing up onto your shore.


Buffers Bring Beauty

The list of attractive native plants that can handle the conditions created along a shoreline is quite extensive.  Blueflag Iris, Swamp Milkweed, Joe-pye Weed, Black-eyed Susans, bulrushes, and sedges, the list goes on and on.  Buffers can also filter out the view of late summer algal blooms.


Buffers Bring the Wildlife You Want

Studies show that native plant buffers bring more rare songbirds, frogs, and pollinators like butterflies to your yard in search of food and habitat.


Buffers Make Financial Sense

You save time with a buffer due to reduced maintenance needs, and in many cases, grants are available to help you with the initial cost of installation.


Why We Like Buffers

In addition to all the benefits listed above, buffers are great for water quality.  Not only do they reduce erosion, but they allow pollution in runoff to filter out before it reaches the lake.

You can learn more about buffers by attending the Landscaping for Clean Water workshop in Farmington on June 6, or by visiting the Restore Your Shore website.

More About Buffers...
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