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Turf Grass Selection Pt 4

whichgrassby George Altgelt

The selection process for turf grass, based on “What do you want it to do?”, has now reached the question of foot traffic. Buffalo grass, while beautiful to look at from a distance looks lousy up close after a party or a Bar-B-Que. It looks obviously trampled and does not recover quickly. Zoysia fairs much better, however it does not bounce right back after an event. Bermuda will show signs of being walked on and is very reliable when it’s time to re-grow and recover. However, Bermuda is not much fun to play on (for kids and adults alike), walk on or romp on because it’s so thin. Bermuda grass has no cushioning effect. When it comes to foot traffic, recovering from parties, romping and rough-housing one grass stands out from the rest. That grass is St. Augustine.  I’m not just speaking from my own experience; this is the same answer I get from professional lawn maintenance providers. Every time I ask that question the answer that  comes back is always the same, “Yeah, if you want a grass that stands up to foot traffic, St. Augustine is it.” The people I’m asking this question of are knowledgeable and experienced professionals who have been in business a long time. These are not the kind of people who lower their  lawn mowers in hot weather just because the grass stopped growing and they want to make it look like they did something.

Now that the subject of “How tall should the grass be?” has been brought up, let me say that it is an intricate and important part of water conservation, soil health, and the subject of next month’s column. This is also taking us in the direction of why water conservation is connected to traditional water rights and why that is becoming a hot, if not explosive political issue.

Till’ next time, HAPPY LANDSCAPING

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