Fern as Lawn Alternative

Asked June 8, 2020, 1:45 PM EDT

I'd like to use a hay scent fern in my easement which is part sun. It is currently grass and entirely surrounded by grass. I was going to use a chemical means to rid the grass in a small strip of the easement (5' X 10') to start. My question is whether I need to use an edging or garden border to keep the grass from infiltrating and taking over the fern area? Eventually I want to population a 5' X 50' are over the course of a few years.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Hay-scented fern can be aggressive, which is a good trait for erosion control and out-competing weeds but may predispose it to infiltrating the grass once it has established. The two do not prefer the same growing conditions, so whichever conditions dominate an area, that will favor the growth of one over the other. There is enough adaptability in each for competition to be possible in a transition zone. An edging material (plastic, metal, stone, wood) would help each planting stay contained and would help keep the grass from taking back over the nearly-cleared soil; the material choice is a matter of preference and probably won't measurably impact its performance, so long as some is buried and a short lip is left above-ground to corral the plants and any mulch used until they fill in.