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DROUGHT-TOLERANT TURFGRASS PROVIDES SENSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO THIRSTY LAWNS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 28, 2005
CONTACT: Cory Chandler, cory.chandler@ttu.edu

DROUGHT-TOLERANT TURFGRASS PROVIDES SENSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO THIRSTY LAWNS


LUBBOCK – Less mowing, less weeding and – perhaps most importantly – less watering.

These are a few of the benefits offered by Turffalo, a unique turfgrass that provides the rich color and thick texture prized in bermuda or fescue lawns while maintaining the resilience of buffalograss.

The heat-resistant and drought-tolerant hybrid, created by Texas Tech University with its partner Frontier Hybrids, could be a boon to owners of thirsty yards throughout the Southwest, where scarce water supplies will increasingly fuel conservation measures in coming decades.

“Turffalo has two benefits,” said Mark Ivey, owner of Ivey Gardens in Lubbock, who planted the grass in his own yard in August. “It has the toughness of buffalograss and the beauty of other lawn grasses. I don’t know of another grass in the world that is as tough and as pretty as Turffalo.”

Turffalo requires as little as a quarter of the water demanded by bermuda and fescue grasses, said Dan Ryan, owner of Frontier Hybrids. It can survive on 10 inches of water a year and needs around two inches per month to stay green. The grass could prove attractive in regions where thinning water supplies have prompted cities to shave consumption.

Turffalo has the thickness and true green color of fescue and bermuda lawn grasses and holds up even under heavy traffic. Since it grows to only about three inches in height, it needs less mowing and it is tolerant to most insects and certain herbicides.

“If you are short on water and short on time, you need buffalograss,” said Dick Auld, chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech. “Turffalo is a great way to get that.”

The grass resulted from 15 years of research at Texas Tech. In 2003, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program ranked Turffalo as the top buffalograss in overall quality in the southwest region. The grass was rated based on its color, leaf texture, density, uniformity and stress toleration.

It is durable enough for city parks and has been used on the fairways of the golf course at Lakeridge Country Club in Lubbock.

“Turffalo is unique in the United States,” Ryan said. “It’s probably the first new turfgrass that has come along in the last 25 years. There have been different varieties of existing grasses, but they are all very similar and this is the first real breakthrough as far as a warm-season grass goes.”

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CONTACT: Dick Auld, chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2872 or dick.auld@ttu.edu

Dan Ryan, owner of Frontier Hybrids, 800-872-0522, (806) 298-2595 or frohyb@aol.com

Mark Ivey, owner of Ivey Gardens, (806) 744-4839


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