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Perennial Peanut

Q: I am tired of replacing the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the road. What alternatives are available to me/

Q:  I am tired of replacing the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the road.  If I try to water it properly so much water ends up on the road and the sidewalk and then down the storm drain that I find it discouraging.  Now I have to replace it again.  Can you give me some other ideas that might be acceptable to my homeowner association?

A:  We all know how frustrating it must be to keep those small patches of grass healthy without being wasteful of water and we appreciate your interest in alternatives. Because of the difficulty and wastefulness of these small strips your HOA should be willing to consider some other choices. If you have full sun at this location then you might consider using perennial peanut, Asiatic jasmine, Powderpuff vine or Beach sunflower. Perennial peanut, Arachis glabrata, Benth, spreads by underground rhizomes but does not produce seed which means it will not be carried to wildlife areas by wind or birds. Irrigation will be needed to get the plants established but afterward normal rainfall should be sufficient. It is currently growing at the UF/IFAS Nassau County Extension satellite office in Yulee so take time to come by and see it. Perennial peanut would also be an excellent alternative to grass over sloping berm and it can be planted any time of year. 

Asiatic jasmine, Trachelospermum asiaticum, is a fast growing, evergreen, creeping vine which should completely cover the area within 2 years and should be planted on 18 inch centers. It can easily be edged to keep it in check. It is growing in the Nassau County Demonstration garden at James S. Pages Governmental Complex in Yulee if you wish to see its growth habit.

Powderpuff or Mimosa vine, Mimosa strigillosa, is one of three common native wildflower mimosa vines.  Powderpuff is the one most commonly produced for landscapes as it spreads quickly.  In a 200 – 300 square feet area only four or five 4 inch pots are needed to cover the area sufficiently.

Beach sunflower, Helianthus debilis, is a native plant which grows from 2-4 feet tall, can live in any type of soil, and is salt and drought tolerant. The best time of year to plant it is between May and July. For those of you living near the coastal areas, Beach sunflower is an excellent choice. These are all attractive and easy to maintain plant choices which should be considered for those common areas in both commercial and residential sites.