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Green Expo: Grass for folks who hate to mow

Consumer Reports News: May 02, 2011 06:11 PM

Of all the green products at this week’s National Green Building Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City, Todd Valley Farms’ eco-friendly sod is the greenest. Not only can it be grown using 25 percent of the water other grasses require but you only have to mow it every two or three weeks. Your neighbors will be green with envy.

Called Legacy Plus, the seed mixture uses two perennial grasses that basically tag-team to keep the lawn green all season. “We’d been growing regular buffalo grass, which is a hardy native of the U.S. and can thrive in hot, low-water conditions,” said Paul Thorson, a production manager for Nebraska-based Todd Valley Farms. “But folks in areas with shorter growing seasons want greener lawns sooner, and one of our partners suggested we try adding a little Sheep’s Fescue to the mix.”

Both grass species lack rhizomes, or roots that grow out underground and form new plants. So the Sheep Fescue can grow in the spring, but when it goes dormant in the summer, the buffalo grass takes over until the two reverse roles in the fall. But here’s the real benefit: The grass only has to be mowed every two or three weeks to keep a well-manicured look.

The sod is being sold for four different growing zones, with prices averaging 55 cents per square foot. Because shipping truckloads of the sod cross-country erodes its green benefits, Todd Valley Farms has licensed the grass mixture to other locations. “Sales are good, and as more parts of country have to deal with water shortages, we’re starting to see more interest in the buffalo grass mixes,” said Thorson.

Use our website to find the best grass for your climate and learn how to water it properly. Our new Ratings of lawn mowers and tractors and string trimmers will help you keep it looking great.

Gian Trotta

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