What’s wrong with this lawn? Absolutely nothing!
The water situation in northern Colorado has led to plenty of discussion about turf grass and lawns (in fact it’s probably why you’re reading this, right now).Bluegrass especially has an undeserved bad rap. With the vilifying of bluegrass,much scientific research and good common sense has gone out the window–the baby went out with the bathwater, so to speak.So there’s more to our choice of the word “undeserved” than just us speaking for our business.
First of all, most commonly used turf and lawn grasses do not require as much water as you think. Decades of misinformation, bad management habits and expectations of golf-course green lawns have led to practices of overwatering our green lawn spaces, which continues to this day. Interestingly, bluegrass was originally used for turf because of its excellent resilience to low water conditions (among other attributes). Bluegrass can go dormant in drought, and responds very quickly to cooler temps and a little bit of water by greening up rapidly.
Second, turf grasses offer benefits not easily reproduced with rock, trees, artificial turf, or xeric plants. To name just a few:
- Soil stabilization due to dense root structure.
- Ability to withstand high temperatures (this is especially true of bluegrasses).
- Natural environmental cooling of the immediate surroundings(artificial turf, especially, can raise surface temperature by as much as 40 degrees F in the sun).
- Noise reduction.
- Production of oxygen and absorption of carbon dioxide.
- Calmness of the visual and mental environment.
- Dust control.
In the past decade there have been important developments in resource-friendly grass varietals and blends, as well as vastly better management techniques. Research powerhouses like Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, Penn State, Texas A&M, and innovative sod growers (often in collaboration) have identified more than 13 bluegrass varietals and hybrids regarded asespecially water-stingy. You can now have a great-looking lawn and actually cut your water input by 30-50%. *
In a nutshell, just know that what you read in the press is not always accurate. Do research and talk to unbiased experts before you make large decisions about your personal greenspace. It might just pay off in ways you never expected!
* Depending on the varietal and conditions applied
Drs. James B. Beard and Robert L. Green, The Role of Turfgrasses in Environmental Protection. J. of Environmental Quality 23: 452-460 (1994)