"Green" or "sustainability" or whatever term you want to give to this new era of resource preservation and ecological regeneration is resulting in some far-fetched environmental claims.
A recent one coming to my attention involves a grass seed marketer — not a name most of you would recognize — that's aggressively marketing the environmental benefits of its grass seed mixtures. The company makes some rather exaggerated (remarkable?) claims for its products.
On its website it says that buyers/users of its grass seed need only mow once a month, seldom or never water (after establishment), that it thrives without chemicals and grows 12-in.-deep roots.
Yes, in theory, the grass seed mixtures it sells (a 5-lb. bag costs about $35) will probably survive and may even result is a sward acceptable to a "naturalist" with minimal care. But, my guess is that most people buying these products and expecting to have attractive, high-quality lawns without watering, fertilizing and by mowing just once a month are going to be sorely disappointed.
What do these "environmental" lawn seed mixtures contain? It turns out they're comprised of different ratios of fine fescues, turf-type tall fescues, Kentucky bluegrasses and perennial ryegrasses.
The fine fescues (hard, creeping red and chewings) predominate in the shade mixtures, with Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescues making up a goodly portion of the sunny mixtures. Combining improved varieties of these different species for different growing conditions (sun and share) are a common practice by grass seed marketers.
The fact that this company’s website bears the seal of approval of SafeLawns.org should be enough of a tipoff that this company is aiming its marketing at the naive consumer. And, judging by the press this company is getting, the naive media. (Hey, I've been a part of the media for 40-plus years, and will regretfully admit to being naive on more than a few occasions.)
I hope this one example isn't indicative of where the landscape industry is going in terms of its commitment to sustainable products and services. — Ron Hall