Native plants have evolved to know the natural conditions of its place. The roots reach into the soil to retrieve water and nutrients in ways that keep them healthy during stressful times such as when its super hot or dry outdoors. These evolutionary traits aren’t just about survival though. Often, you will find native plants thriving in harsh summer weather.
When non-natives, or plants with less dynamic roots systems find themselves in hard situations, they can’t survive without human interaction. You have to turn on the sprinklers and feed them cocktails of artificial fertilizers to keep them from dying.
Below is another image that compares native natives with turf grass and other non-natives. It's obvious that standard lawn grass and non-natives have ineffective roots for dry periods. When thinking about why lawns have to be managed so much, why you have to mow them, water them and feed them chemicals, the image relieves it instantly. The root systems of most lawn grasses are just not deep enough to give them a chance. Plants with such shallow roots have evolved in regions that are almost always moist. In fact, when you look into the linage of many lawn grasses, you will find they come from places like the United Kingdoms and Europe where weather cycles are more like the northwestern parts of the United States – cool and rainy.
There are some lawn grasses that do have dynamic roots systems such as our customized blend called Super Awesome Lawn Seed. The roots for the species in the mix dig deep into the soil and establish themselves similarly as the roots of the native plants shown in the diagram. It needs watering the first couple of years after it is planted, but it, too, can thrive without irrigation. It, also, doesn’t grow very tall so you can have an almost maintenance free lawn.