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Using Moss Instead of Grass Saves Water

Using moss instead of grass is a great way to save water.

"According to an informal survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, many of its most prominent members predict that the use of native and drought-resistant plants like moss as a sustainable substitute for grass will be a major design trend of 2008. “We’re definitely seeing more creative plantings, and moss is a great one,” said Nancy C. Somerville, the organization’s executive vice president, who attributes the trend in part to environmentalism, and in particular to growing concerns about water in much of the country.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly a third of all residential water is used for landscaping. “Here on the East Coast we had drought conditions for a large part of last summer,” Ms. Somerville said, “and it sounds like we’re going to get more of that with global warming.”

Although moss requires moisture, said Christine Cook, who owns Mossaics, a moss gardening business in Easton, Conn., and who lectures at the New York Botanical Garden, a moss lawn needs “a fraction, one percent or less” of the 10,000 gallons (beyond rainwater) that the E.P.A. estimates a suburban grass lawn drinks annually."

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