Texas Tech Research Will Cut Consumption, Water Bills
Date: April 25, 2005
CONTACT: Cory Chandler,

LUBBOCK – Spring is here. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and sprinklers are busy pumping countless gallons of water onto thirsty lawns. While the results may be easy on the eye, they are hard on pocketbooks. Even worse – they threaten to further sap diminishing water stores.

The good news is researchers in Texas Tech University’s Plant and Soil Sciences are working to create attractive and water-friendly landscaping alternatives:

Michael Maurer, an assistant professor of horticulture, is the creator of Tech Turf I.
The heat-resistant and drought-tolerant hybrid, marketed by Turffalo in Abernathy, provides the rich color and thick texture prized in bermuda or fescue lawns but requires as little as a quarter of the water to stay alive.

Maurer is now working to make aesthetic improvements on new generations of the grass, said Dick Auld, chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. “The current variety is great, but we’ve got some even better ones coming along,” Auld said.
Maurer can be reached at (806) 742-2845, or

Cynthia McKenney, an associate professor of horticulture working with Texas Tech through the Texas A&M University Research and Extension Center in Dallas, is working with a number of native wildflower hybrids that should be ready for release beginning next year. These flowers need less water to stay alive in arid regions than do other varieties.
McKenney can be reached at (972) 231-5362, or

Thayne Montague, an assistant professor of horticulture, is working to identify ornamental trees that grow well in arid climates. One exciting prospect is known as an Escarpment Live Oak, the tallest Live Oak known to grow naturally as far north as the United States.

Montague is studying trees that were rescued from land that was submerged by creation of Lake Alan Henry in the Panhandle and hopes these will prove to be both more water and cold tolerant.
Montague can be contacted at (806) 742-3012, or

CONTACT: Dick Auld, chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2872, or