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Water Grass Once a Week & Mow Once a Month?

We have blogged about water conserving turf grasses before, but this time we are sharing results from a Thousand Oaks resident who is using a low-maintenance, water-conserving turf. If the drought is over why should you plant water conserving grass? As Californians, we know another drought is around the corner. Between 2050 and 2100, experts predict that there is an 87% chance that California will experience a mega-drought of ten years or more. In addition, the State is developing water budgets that will require each water agency to reduce the amount of water they use. So now is the time to prepare for the next drought by selecting low water usage plants, including turf and getting them established so they can thrive when water is scarce.

There are many great lawn alternatives, such as bee-friendly or California Native plants, but sometimes you need an actual lawn for the kids to play or the dogs to run around. Here are three varieties of water conserving grasses that have been successfully planted locally. If you have used one of these grasses or another drought-tolerant variety, please contact us and share your experience and pictures so we can share with the rest of the City.

All the grass varieties below reduce the water needed to irrigate and grow slow so less mowing is needed for play turf areas.  They can also be allowed to grow long for a natural look on hillsides or other minimal care landscaped areas. The Pearls Premium and the Eco-lawn have instructions for overseeding in your existing grass or complete replacement.

Pearls Premium
IMG_2426You only need to water this grass one time a week and mow every 4-6 weeks claimed a vendor at a recent water conservation event I attended. The vendor was Jackson Madnick, the inventor of Pearl’s Premium lawn seed. I questioned Jackson about his claims and asked for examples from the Thousand Oaks area. Jackson put me in touch with Mike Pincus who lives a little over a mile from city hall and I went out to look at his lawn. I must say the lawn looked great. Mike said that he re-landscaped the front lawn and reduced the amount of grass needed and removed all the old turf and put in new sprinklers and planted in September 2015. It grew as expected from the instructions. However, Mike has needed to water two times a week in the winter and three times in the summer for about 4-5 minutes each time to keep it green. Mike also said that he frequently has people stop by to ask him how he keeps his lawn looking so good.

UC Verde – UC Davis developed California specific grass
This grass was developed by UC Davis researchers specifically for California’s climate. ‘UC Verde’® requires as little as a fourth of the amount of water as do traditional turf grasses, leading to a savings of as much as 75% of the volume of water that is applied to other types of turf. Native buffalograss from the North American plains is extremely tough, and these attributes are very much present in ‘UC Verde’®, resulting in little or no chemical needs. Traditional bluegrass and fescue lawns require significant applications of chemical insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides for the control of insects, disease, and weeds. UC Davis has partnered with Florasource to provide the product to the public.  Click here to see pictures.

This lawn may turn yellow during some of the colder months.

Developed in the 1990's by Wildflower Farm, Eco-Lawn is a blend of certified fine fescue grass seeds that work together to form a slow growing, drought tolerant turf. I was able to see a small patch of Eco-lawn in Thousand Oaks. However, it is primarily for the dogs to use. So, the areas that the dogs didn’t use frequently looked nice and green, but other areas suffered from heavy usage.

Click to see pictures of the lawn in places like Sacramento, Claremont, and Lakewood, California.


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