Updated 01/07/2008 03:48 PM
Drought-resistant grasses researched
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RALEIGH -- Groundbreaking research to help you have a drought resistant lawn is happening in North Carolina. A majority of North Carolina homeowners have tall fescue grass, but it is far from drought resistant. Researchers at N.C. State University hope to have new grasses available this fall.
In fields not far from downtown Raleigh, you'll find patches of parched brown grass and patches of glorious green grass. Grady Miller and his team started hunting for new drought resistant grasses more than a year ago.
"Some of our studies may lead to different kinds of grasses that are available to them in their retailers in the fall," said Miller, whose team is also working on using technology that only triggers sprinklers when your lawn needs the water the most.
"The sensors are coming onto the market now," Miller added. "They are a little expensive and there needs to be some refinement and development of them and I think we're just a few short years away from them being very commonly available."
While the research being done in the fields is about finding grass that is more drought resistant, believe it or not, there are homeowners out there that are going to artificial turf.
"They're starting to look at athletic fields and thinking maybe we could do that in our own landscape," Miller said. "Some of the large metro areas like Atlanta have a number of companies that have sprung up over the last couple years selling strictly to homeowners.
There are several problems including a limited life span and it cost four to six times more than sod. That's why Miller hopes the work in the fields at N.C. State will create more drought resistant grasses.
The updated research was unveiled at a statewide turfgrass conference in Raleigh on Monday.