Can I use Bugleweed in place of Fescue grass lawn? Is it invasive?


I have Chocolate Chip Ajuga Bugleweed on my property. It’s very happy and I really like the look of it. I’m interested in converting most of my lawn to a native grass and perennial meadow, though it will not be 100% native. I wanted to check in with your expert gardeners to see if they think it would be okay to plant Bugleweed in place of my Fescue grass lawn. I’ve read that it can be “invasive” but is not on any such official State of Maine list that I can find. Can you please advise? 


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

Kudos to you for considering alternatives to traditional turfgrass.

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) certainly can be a healthy, pollinator-friendly alternative to turfgrass in the yard, with the caveat that it will require close attention at the edges of your yard and adjoining garden beds. You are correct that it is not categorized as invasive in Maine (you can see where it *is* invasive here), but it can be an aggressive spreader under the right conditions. That’s great for filling in your yard area economically, but you will need to edge out its vegetative runners on the borders of that area periodically to make sure it doesn’t escape its assigned spot. And be sure you like the way it looks and behaves because once established, it will be your groundcover for quite some time.

If you’re considering other species, as well, please take a look at this previous Ask an Expert question regarding lawn options.

Happy gardening.

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