No-mow, easy-grow grass?

"The grass is always greener on Jackson Madnicks lawn in Wayland, Mass.: green in a drought and green when it emerges from under the snow. Yet, he barely waters and mows it, and he never uses chemical pesticides or fertilizers."
Read more: <http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/09/08/inventor-cultivates-no-mow-easy-grow-grass/?intcmp atures#ixzz25vCWnmIB>
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Oren wrote:

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/09/08/inventor-cultivates-no-mow-easy-grow-grass/?intcmp atures#ixzz25vCWnmIB Before you start salivating, check the prices.
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On 9/9/2012 6:47 AM, HeyBub wrote:

Hmmm. It's a mixture of taller-growing varieties, so you have to mow it to a minimum height of 3 inches. Doesn't surprise me, since tall fescue is in the mix. For those who aren't familiar with what tall fescue looks like, an awful lot of people confuse it with quackgrass: fast-growing, long stem, coarser blade than bluegrasses. That longer stem is one major reason why you have to mow it higher. Folks who like a shorter, tidier-looking lawn won't care for that.
Recommended seeding rate is nearly 3 times that for most grass seed mixtures (8 lbs/1000 sq. ft. versus 3 lbs./1000 sq. ft.). Understandable, since it is mostly a variety of fescues, and fescues don't multiply and spread the way bluegrasses do. Fescues tend to clump, so you have to seed more thickly for good coverage.
Overseeding an existing lawn with this is asking for trouble, not to mention a hell of a lot of work. It claims it will (eventually) outcompete existing grasses and weeds, but to be on the safe side they want you to undertake a significant amount of prep work. Even so, grassy weeds/undesirable grasses are notoriously persistent.
Whether you overseed an existing lawn or start a new lawn, it calls for another round of lawn prep and overseeding the following season. I wouldn't be surprised if these lawns need periodic overseeding, as fescues simply don't spread the way bluegrasses do (which is why you tend to see patches or tufts in grass in shady spots, where bluegrasses don't thrive).
Conclusion: this is a possibility for the highly-motivated and/or the owners of small lawns.
Me, I'll stick with my traditional American mongrel lawn: blues, fescues, clover, and bentgrass. As long as it's green, I'm satisfied.
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I'd go one further. This sounds like one of those news stories that gets blown out of proportion and has little substantiation. Like the claim that he barely mows it. As you point out, it has tall fescue in it. There are all kinds of tall fescue, but I have yet to see one where it doesn't need to be mowed about once a week. The tall fescues tend to be among the faster growing, tougher grasses, which is why they are used for applications like parks and athletic fields.
Also, I'm wondering how John Q Public gets thousands of grasses to experiment with. Most of the seed out there that you can buy in a 7lb bag is a blend. And when you can buy a specific seed variety, it's frequently hard to find a supplier and then comes in commercial quantities, ie at least a 50lb bag, wholesale only, etc. It's kind of hard to imagine that JQP could stumble on some great new blend of seed when you have researchers the world over working on exactly that for decades. Not impossible, but you have to wonder.
When his new miracle grass has been put through a real evaluation, ie NTEP, where they grow it under test conditions at multiple sites, then evaluate it under the same criteria as all the other turf grasses, then I'll be a believer.
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wrote:

The article contains these 2 lines, the first spoken by a professional and the second by a consumer:
1 - "And if you dont mow it, it flips over and becomes a meadow." 2 - "I mow it once a month, and my daughter never mows it because theyre too busy.
So what does the daughter's lawn look like, assuming it has "filpped over and become a meadow?"
Yes, I can use Google images to see various meadows, but what does "flips over and becomes a meadow" mean in this case, and would someone want one as a "lawn"?
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On 9/10/2012 12:57 PM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

One presumes this guy was/is a fanatic wrt to this quest. Given that, it's not at all unlikely he reads the sod/turf professional mag's, etc., and it's certainly not difficult to find the listings of the various seed producers and their various varieties and there's a "veritable plethora" of stuff available from the various universities w/ turf grass programs and the annual evaluation summaries published, an so forth for hints of what are potential cultivars to try...
I'd guess he did precisely that--order directly from the seed producers--there's nothing in these that is at all exotic--the newest cultivar I noticed was one release for commercial use in the early 2000's--the FC-11 fescue.
In an area such as he is, "drought" and lower moisture tolerance is certainly a relative thing as compared to the mid- or west coast and certainly the temperature is much more temperate than out here--you'd have to water the dickens out of any/all of those to get them to survive here.
The ideal low-maintenance grasses here would include buffalo, blue- and sideoats grama, etc., etc., ...
--
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I didn't say they were exotic. Only that typically commercial seed producers don't deal with JQ Public and have order quantities that start with 50lb bags, if they will even deal with the public at all. I've gone looking for a specific seed variety that I wanted and it was extremely difficult to find it even though I was willing to buy 50lbs. After much searching, I finally found one sod farm that sold it.
Also, do you really buy that he planted and actually evaluated 1000 different grasses on his lawn? Like I said, when he has NTEP data that shows what it does, then I'll be a believer. All this is to me is a cute little story with little to back it up.
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On 9/11/2012 9:27 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

W/ appropriate tongue-in-cheek/fingers-crossed for advertising leeway, sure I believe he did what it says--raised a bunch of pots of mixes.
Do I have any doubts he could buy the various fescues and so on w/ only a modicum of effort? None--all he's got to do is claim he's another grower or whatever and there are enough seed houses if it's not really far out like you'll he'll eventually find one.
Do I think there's anything really to it other than hype and marketing and a typical news outlet making stories for to cover air time? No, but that wasn't the specific area I was addressing...
Overall, no, I don't think there's anything to see here, folks, but if he can start another Martha Stewart-like designer-grass business out of it, power to him.
--
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I found one that would sell me a 50lb bag of the tall fescue seed I was looking for. One supplier in the whole country and that was after hours of googling. It cost me $100. They don't sell it by the pound to the local JQ Public guy. That was my point. Now if you had to do that with 1,000 varieties, it seems like one hell of a stretch to me.
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On 9/11/2012 11:11 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I think you're forgetting or at least overlooking that he apparently has been at this for quite some time and was apparently pretty-much a fanatic. Folks like that can accomplish a lot that "ordinary" folk w/o the dedication don't.
I'd guess if you had known a local distributor well you could have gotten it through them--or via conservation district of extension office or land-grant university. Or the local golf course groundskeeper or city parks/rec overseer or ...
Maybe because we farm and buy bulk seed all the time it doesn't seem like any big deal to me--I'd guess he would have developed inroads over time as well.
OTOH, going back to the article it doesn't say he bought thousands of different seed varieties at all--it says he "gathered thousands of grass samples". A miniature Charles Darwin on a specific path... :)
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On 9/11/2012 11:11 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I don't know where you live, but I was in the trade for nine years, the company I worked for is still in business, and a large part of the business is selling a variety of grass seed mixtures, blends, and straight seed varieties in one pound and larger lots. We weren't unique, either - the only difference between us and our local competition is that we were/are the regional distributors for one of the seed companies, meaning that nobody beat our prices, since our competition had to buy their stock from us.
Haven't you any decent garden centers or feed stores in your area? Otherwise, go straight to the source. Find the company that grows the actual seed, or produces the actual blend or mixture you're looking for. They usually don't sell in such small lots, so in those cases they'll give you the contact information for their distributors.
Oh, and ordinary tall fescue? Cheap seed. We sold it by the pound and in fifty pound bags. We recommended it for back yards that got hard play, athletic fields that got little or no maintenance (i.e. public parks) and rural properties where the owners didn't care too much about looks and didn't want to put in much upkeep. But, like I said, the problem with tall fescue is that it looks weedy, and the problem with all fescues is they clump, so you don't get uniform coverage. That's why most lawn seed is sold as mixtures - combinations of different grass types. The most common mixes tend to contain some fine-leaf fescues, hybrid bluegrasses, and hybrid perennial ryes. Fescues for shade, ryes for wear and drought resistance, and blues for the nice appearance, feel, and uniform coverage. Grass blends are mixtures of different varieties of the same grass type. For instance, a bluegrass blend might contain two or more different strains of hybrid bluegrass. Blends are only a little less risky than straight seed mixtures, as they, like straight seed, can't cope with all lawn conditions (sun/shade, dry/moist, cool/warm). Not to mention that they're more at risk for sustaining major damage from a lawn disease. That's another point in favor of seeding with a grass mix.
Clover has its place, too. A low growing legume, it provides its own nitrogen and shares some of it with surrounding grasses. Clover was traditionally considered a desirable element in lawns until the dawning of the commercial herbicide era. Lawn weedkillers tend to kill everything that isn't a grass, which is a problem if you value clover. So the marketing campaign for lawn weedkillers simply named clover as one of the 'undesirable weeds' that the product would eliminate. That way, instead of angry homeowners complaining that the product killed their clover, they were led to believe that they shouldn't have it in their lawn. There are new smaller clover varieties now - microclovers - which blend in even better in lawns than the traditional white Dutch clover.
Nowadays most people aren't fans of clover. Being an oldtimer, I grew up with it, so I appreciate it...plus, since I don't view it as a weed, I don't spend time and money trying to get rid of it. Bonus: the rabbits prefer eating the clover in the lawn to the vegetables in the garden. So it works for me.
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On 9/11/2012 3:35 PM, HellT wrote: ...

Indeed, I throw some out every so often--out here where it's hot and dry it gradually dies out w/o some help...in moister areas, it'll wax and wane as the soil N levels rise and fall--when it's low the clover will flourish for a few years and the grasses will naturally fill in as the N levels gradually return and the clover will tend to recede...
--
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I don't mind the green clover leaves, but I don't like the white flowers.
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clipped

I would vote for crab grass, esp. after the recent drought. My son always has the greenest lawn in the neighborhood and does nothing other than mowing it; mows higher in the hottest part of summer. He has more important things to spend time and money on. Whatever else is growing in his yard, it is green again. Neighbor reseeded half his yard last year, spends a huge amount of time on it, and now is redoing landscaping because his professionally planted grass didn't sprout.

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