If you are putting in a new lawn or renovating an old one, consider using grasses that have lower needs for water, fertilizer, mowing, and pesticide applications. Not only will this save you time and money, these environmentally-friendly choices will help protect the watershed by reducing likelihood of nutrient and pesticide laden runoff. Avoid cool-season species like Kentucky bluegrass that have high fertilizer and water requirements and opt instead for lower maintenance tall and fine-leaf fescues. A number of low -mow grass seed mixes have been developed that need less mowing, as little as once a month, as well as less water and fertilizer. Look for insect-resistant endophyte-enhanced fescue varieties. These contain beneficial fungi that make the grass grow more vigorously and resist insect attacks. (Endophyte-enhanced grass should never be use for turf that will be grazed on by livestock.) Among warm season grasses, centipede grass is a slow growing choice with good drought tolerance that needs less frequent mowing. 'Captiva' is a newer pest-resistant St. Augustine grass variety that grows slowly, reducing mowing chores.
Article published on April 8, 2013.