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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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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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UC Verde Buffalo Grass is extremely drought tolerant using up to 75% less water. It does however 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.

ucverde

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 saving you lots of time!

Both varieties are available at www.ucverdebuffalograss.com

bellanew

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The City of Los Angeles is enacting water restrictions for its residents. The Emergency Water Conservation Plan or Ordinance 180148 states that voluntary conservation efforts have proved insufficient and now a mandatory conservation plan will take effect. Effective immediately is a list of regulations for the use of water as well as restricting the watering of lawns to 2 days a week and no more than 10-15 minutes per day. Violations will result in increasing fines added to your water bill. Email us at info@ucverdebuffalograss.com for a copy of this ordinance.

 

To learn more about UC Verde Buffalo Grass or Bella Blue Grass visit us at www.ucverdebuffalograss.com

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(paraphrased from an article in the Fresno Bee, 2/28/2009, By Denny Boyles and Mark Grossi)

If rains don’t end drought, city may require residents to cut their use by 25%

Unless March brings record rainfall, Fresno will be forced to impose new water restrictions on residents and businesses this summer, city officials say. The state’s three-year drought already has devastated Valley agriculture. The city is making plans to declare mandatory cuts of 25%. That could mean no washing cars with a hose, tightened irrigation rules and stepped-up enforcement by the city.

Fresno has already moved to “Stage 1” of its drought plan, which calls for voluntary 10% cuts in water use, said Lon Martin, assistant director of public utilities for Fresno.

“Stage 2” would mean mandatory reductions of 25%. Further stages could mean more drastic cuts.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a drought emergency after three years of below-average rain and snow in California. “This is a crisis…and we must treat it with the same urgency…”, he said.

Three dry winters have left California’s state and federally operated reservoirs at their lowest levels since 1992.

“The situation is extremely dire,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies.

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