Spring has arrived!  Those of us that did not overseed our lawns are either looking at either a mostly brown bermudagrass lawn or a dark green seashore paspalum lawn.  I am sure you know which sod I have in my Arizona backyard.  I want to talk about the paspalums again for those of you who are new to my blog or are interested in learning what the craze is all about these days in the grass  and turf world. 

Seashore paspalums are salt tolerant grasses that were originally bred for coastal areas high in salinity.  As time has gone on, and as research has been done it has been discovered that not only do these grasses do well in coastal areas high in salts, they also thrive in hot climates with clean or effluent water.  So what does that mean for you as a homeowner in Arizona or California?  What it means is you have a new choice in the grass market besides going with bermudagrass and the best part is they are “eco friendly grasses.”  Even Al Gore would say so.

Anyway, what makes them an eco-friendly grass is the low impact they have on our natural resources as well as the low fertilizer requirements.  Sea paspalum gets the food reserve it needs from mostly micronutrients such as manganese and zinc, and uses 66 % less nitrogen than bermudagrass.  Some of the other products that have proven to be an extreme asset to paspalum are seaweed and kelp extracts.   You did read that correctly.   These are products that are not only safe for the environment, they are easy to apply in a liquid form.

Paspalum requires just two nitrogen fertilizer applications per year and this is done in the spring and fall with an organic fertilizer such as Milorganite and a couple applications of micronutrients such as zinc and manganese throughout the summer when you make similar applications to your palm trees.  A typical bermudagrass needs 6-8 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 SF per growing season while a paspalum will only use 2-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 SF on the high end.  Now that is eco-friendly!  Well how about how much water it uses? Naturally less growth and fertilizers will help aid in a reduction in water usage making you have the most environmentally friendly grass in your neighborhood.

Now you may be saying to yourself that this sounds all well and good but you enjoy that lush, soft green canopy that a bermudagrass offers.  Don’t you worry because you will get the same feel, and an amazing dark green color to your lawn that has an a wet shine on one side of the leaf blade providing an post irrigation look at all times of the day.  The paspalums can be mowed between 1/10th of an inch if you select a putting green type such as Platinum or you can mow it as high as 2” if you have Sea Spray or Platinum.  You can maintain your lawn several different ways with the same grass and you can even achieve everyone’s goal of growing a beautiful putting green in their backyard if you so choose to make your neighbors jealous that they had to buy a  piece of carpet (artificial turf) to putt on.  The ideal cutting range for all paspalum is between ¼” and 2”, but they can get to lower heights with the right equipment, variety and a little time.

Let’s debunk a few of the myths that have always floated out in the turf industry about paspalum.  Many people were worried in the past that it was a grass that could not be overseeded.  This is completely false and university research has showed that not only can they be overseeded with ease, they actually transition as well if not better than any bermudagrass on the market.

Question two that  people ask is will it stay green all year round?  There is not a warm season grass that will hold its color through the entire winter without being overseeded, but if you want to save time, money, seed and water you don’t need to overseed this grass because it stays green 4-6 weeks longer in the fall and greens up 4-6 weeks earlier in the spring than bermudagrass.  You dormancy period will be approximately 2-3 months and less time in areas that are in full sun.

So, where can you see this grass and why are we just selling it now?  We have been selling paspalum for years in California, and we have been doing research for several years in Arizona to make sure it will hold up to the heat, traffic, and winters in Arizona.  It has not only passed all of our tests, it has exceeded even our expectations and it has been flying off the farm since we put it on the market.  It is a grass that when we are installing it, it will make you stop your car to ask what kind of grass it is.  The color is nothing like we have ever seen in a summer grass and has the bold green look of a perennial ryegrass that we grow in the winter.

So what’s the catch? There is no catch–it is just like technology in the TV world.  As we evolve so does our research and our options in the grass world.  How do you know if this is right for you?  Do you have full sun, dislike fertilizing, love a lush green lawn, and easy maintenance?  Then this is you and I suggest you either contact me for more information or read some of my past blogs and do some research of your own online.

t does have a slightly higher square footage price but if $.02 SF is holding you back from buying it, I would think about how much you will be spending  fertilizing once a month with another product.  You will make up the cost in the first two months alone.  Now I am not saying for everyone to go and get paspalum, but if you don’t want to just compete with “the Jones’s” and want to be the Jones’s this is for you.

Until next time take a look at the pictures of my non-overseeded paspalum in March.  For those of you who prefer to see it on TV I have attached my video of us laying it for the Garden Guy last summer.  Enjoy!