Archive for the ‘Save Water’ Category

There seems to be some confusion that there is only one kind of Buffalograss or that all types are the same. Actually, this is not the case at all. There various varities of Buffalograss out there and each one is different from the next. Some are seeded some are not, their height varies, growing conditions differ. Here’s a little bit of information on the topic:

Types of Buffalograss

Buffalo grass is native North American turf grass. Originally a native grass on plains and prairies, buffalo grass is named after American bison that fed on its gray-green foliage. Long used for livestock forage and rural turf, buffalo grass is gaining popularity as low-water, low-maintenance lawnscaping. Buffalo grass needs minimal fertilization and is pest resistant. New lawn varieties offer dense, green grass and xeriscape qualities.

UC Verde

UC Verde, developed by the University of California at Davis and University of California at Riverside, is specifically bred for California landscaping. UC Verde is fine-bladed, has no seed heads and is medium green in color. This slow-growing variety matures at a height 4 to 6 inches. Recommended mow height is 2 to 3 inches. Like other new cultivars, UC Verde can be left unmowed for a short meadow grass look.


Legacy buffalo grass, developed by the University of Nebraska, is a dense-growing grass with a dark blue-green color. This grass is planted by sod or plugs. Legacy has no pollen or seed heads, making it a good choice for people and pets with pollen allergies. Legacy tolerates shade better than most buffalo grasses, though it will not grow as rapidly in shade as in sun. Maturing at a height of 3 to 5 inches, this variety is unmowed for a soft landscape appearance or is mowed every two to three weeks in growing season.


Prairie buffalo grass, developed at Texas A&M University, is a medium density grass with an apple green color. Planted by sod or plugs, this fine-bladed grass has no pollen or seed heads. This cultivar is grown in full sun with little watering and fertilizing. Prairie performs well in clay soils and matures at a height 4 to 6 inches. Remove no more than a third of the height when mowing to maintain root activity.


Stampede is a semi-dwarf and dense buffalo grass with a kelly green color. This buffalo grass has a finer, shorter leaf blade than most buffalo grasses. Maturing at a height of 4 inches, Stampede spreads quickly and requires minimal mowing. Drought-tolerant and disease-resistant, the buffalo grass is green in summer and golden in winter.

Other Buffalo Grasses

Depending on the cultivar, buffalo grass is planted with traditional seeds, sod and grass plugs. Some cultivars such as Bison, Cody and Texoka grow from seed burs while others like Legacy, Prairie and Stampede grow by vegetative stems called stolens. Seeded varieties are often taller and produce seed heads. Vegetative varieties are preferred for fast growth and allergy sufferers. Check with regional cooperative extensions on specific buffalo grass cultivars suited to the local climate.

We carry UC Verde and find it to be a good fit for the west coast!

(Types of Buffalograss from Gardenguides.com)

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So we just got our utilities bill at the house and it looked different than it usually does. It has a new layout and a place for (Yikes!) metered water charges!!! It doesn’t look like they’ve started the metering just yet, although they did install the meters on our street earlier this year. Luckily, we just planted some UC Davis Arboretum All Star plants at our house, which are all supposed to be water wise plants:

-Bulbine frutescens in the backyard – it gets serious neglect and little water and still looks great!

-Cerastium tomentosum – great silver foliage with a spreading habit!

-Miscanthus Gold Bar – I loooove variegated foliage!

Salvia ‘Navajo Red’ – add some height, add some color – without adding too much water!

(these aren’t actual pics from my yard since I just pruned this weekend, but you get the idea!)

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A new report for the National Resources Defense Council claims one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states will face higher risks of water shortages due to global warming.
The report finds that 14 states face an extreme or high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds supply by 2050. But in some arid regions (such as Texas, the Southwest and California) and agricultural areas, water withdrawal is greater than 100% of the available precipitation so that water is already used in quantities that exceed supply. 
Read the full article here.

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“…officials are drafting new laws that prohibit homeowners from installing a vast blanket of verdant grass…Existing grass is safe, but the new rules to conserve water would restrict lawn size for new homes and new lawn-and-garden projects to as little as one-quarter of a home’s overall landscaping. More turf is allowed only if homeowners do the math to prove they are conserving in other areas. For a 2,000-square-foot yard, that’s 500 square feet of grass — about the size of a two-car garage…”

For the full article click here: http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_14202658?nclick_check=1&forced=true

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We participated in a Water-wise Plant Exchange at Fresno State this weekend, hosted by the City of Fresno. There were several different booths with information on water-wise plants (such as ourselves promoting UC Verde Buffalo Grass!) and a large area where people could pick up free water-wise plants for their gardens! The succulents we donated were gone in no time! We even picked up a cool little cactus for our succulent garden 🙂


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MP Rotator sprinkler heads are the newest innovation in sprinkler head design. They combine the best in water conservation, low cost and ease of installation of all sprinkler heads on the market today. MP Rotators have been proven in years of agricultural use and have an excellent history of reliability and durability. Visit them on their website to learn more at http://www.hunterindustries.com/products/mprotator/

We use them in our backyard!

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Beginning next year in 2010, the City of Fresno will install approximately 25,000 meters on a yearly basis, until 2013 when the entire project is complete.

All costs for the water meter program are built into the current residential water rates; there will be no special assessment or charge associated with the cost of meter purchase or installation.

In 2010, as water meters are installed, the City will begin reading meters and billing a metered rate for those customers with meters. This means customers will be paying for actual water used – even WASTED water!

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From the boss man, Danny Takao:


With the current drought conditions we face here in California and other parts of the country, the new California garden will need to change to accommodate our growing population.  With the increasing population here in California the pressure on our water resources will continue regardless if we get rain next year. One of the greatest user of water in our landscape is our cool season fescue type grasses. The inputs of fertilizers, chemical sprays and water doesn’t make much sense anymore. We need to change the way we think about our gardens and the way we live. And we need to do it now….


UC Verde Buffalo Grass


When I first learned of UC Verde Buffalo Grass it was from a catalog from High Country Gardens in New Mexico. David Salman is a leader in regards to low water landscape in New Mexico. After reading about the Buffalo Grass I put it in the back of my mind to follow up again when I had more time. I knew this grass was interesting but at the time 5 years ago water was not an issue.


A couple of years ago  I had to go a Green Roof Conference in Minneapolis to see about becoming a grower of  green roof modules.  By chance Wayne Thorsen from Todd Valley Sod Farm had his booth next to the Live Roof booth. (Todd Valley Farms owns the rights to UC Verde , Prestige and Legacy developed by UC Davis and UC Riverside and the University of Nebraska. )  I couldn’t believe this because I had forgotten all about the buffalo grass. Anyways Wayne and I got to talking about UC Verde and a month later Wayne callled to say we could be a plug producer in California.  Later on Wayne called Tom Hawkins from Florasource ( Our marketing and sales partner) to go see the trials at UC Riverside. UC Riverside and UC Davis are the breeders of UC Verde. What I saw at the trials really made me a believer in UC Verde. What UC Riverside did was establish plots of different drought tolerant turfs and then turn off the water. The only green blocks in the trials were UC Verde.  The Zoysia and Bermuda grasses were completely dead. It was really a amazing sight.


Since that trial we have started our own trial plots here at the nursery and have become a firm believer even more. UC Verde creates a really deep root system and the ability to transpire very slowly in hot weather. Making this grass ideal for our central valley heat. The only negative about UC Verde is the dormancy period from late November to early March. But the straw color of the grass during dormancy can be painted with turf paint or left natural. It’s quite strking with the dormant colors.


As our world gets closer to the tipping point there is something we can do to help and use less water in the process. UC Verde Buffalo grass is that solution. I’m glad to be a part of this and I hope California can see we need to use less water but still have our green gardens.

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UC Verde Buffalo Grass is extremely drought tolerant using up to 75% less water. Did you know that approximately 50-70 percent of our residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns, which total approximately 20-30 million acres in the United States. With all of our drought issues here in California that’s a huge amount of water to be unneccessarily wasting. The grass does go dormant in the cold winter months, but that can be addressed by using a grass colorant which will last up to 13-14 weeks and looks pretty realistic. A small draw back to all the savings you’ll incur in water and money.


A new grass we are now carrying is Bella Bluegrass. Though not as drought tolerant as the UC Verde Buffalo Grass, it also uses less water and it does not go dormant. The great thing about the Bella Bluegrass is it’s low maximum height of just 3-4 inches tall. Which means less or even no mowing required, saving the environment from air pollutants caused by lawn mowers and also saving you lots of time! Did you know that the use of gas-powered lawn mowers contributes five percent of the nation’s air pollution. A gas-powered lawnmower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car.

Both varieties are available now! Contact us to learn more or to place an order.


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Article from the National Wildlife Federation:

“…Beginning in the 19th century, however, suburban Americans took to lawns like fish to water – and both fish and water have been adversely impacted ever since. Approximately 50-70 percent of our residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns, which total approximately 20-30 million acres in the United States. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 70 million pounds of active pesticide ingredients are applied to suburban lawns each year, helping to make polluted runoff the single largest source of water pollution nationwide, affecting ground water, lakes and streams, wildlife, and human health. A 1995 EPA compilation of state data collected in 1994 showed that urban runoff contributed to damage in more than 26,000 river and stream miles. And the use of gas-powered lawn mowers contributes five percent of the nation’s air pollution. A gas-powered lawnmower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car. The average American homeowner spends 40 hours a year mowing the lawn. Maintaining the “perfect” lawn – close-cropped, green, weedless, insect-free – requires our own time and energy (consider those blue-sky summer weekends spent mowing, edging, and moving hoses!), vast amounts of natural resources such as water and oil, and the use of a wide array of poisonous chemicals…”

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