Sep 23, 2022 - News

Salt Lake City's water-saving grass seed is back — and selling out fast

Young grass grows from Salt Lake City's Turf Trade seed mix. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios
Young grass grows from Salt Lake City's Turf Trade seed mix about two weeks after planting. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Salt Lake City's popular drought-tolerant grass seed is once again for sale at a big discount for residents who want to use less water.

  • Yes, and: Bags are selling like hotcakes, suggesting there's massive demand for affordable landscaping solutions in our ongoing drought.

Driving the news: City officials this week got another shipment of turf grass seed for people to replace their thirsty lawns.

  • The SLC Turf Trade fescue mix, developed by USU and the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance, requires 30% less water than the standard Kentucky bluegrass.
  • A 5-pound bag costs $8.50 and covers about 1,000 square feet.

Catch up quick: When the city offered the seed last month, all 400 bags sold out in about two weeks, officials told Axios.

  • Now other cities in the state are calling USU for their own seed blends, FOX 13 reported last week.
  • Scientists there are looking at making other blends for even hotter, drier parts of Utah.

Yes, but: The water savings are generally even greater when turf grass is replaced with other drought-tolerant landscape plants.

  • One study in Nevada found residents used about a third less water when they converted fescue turf to xeriscape with drip irrigation.
  • A mix of plants also creates a habitat for birds and bugs.

Erin's thought bubble: Xeriscaping a whole lawn is too expensive for a lot of us, so that project is limited to my parking strip while I use the Turf Trade seed on the main lawn.

  • That lets me save a bit of water on the grass until I can start installing xeriscape beds on the lawn.
  • Replacing the irrigation system can make it hard to reduce a lawn in stages, so I'm hoping the less-thirsty turf grass will be a compromise while I save up for a total lawn renovation.

How it works: Order the grass online and follow the city's instructions for planting.

  • Grass is best planted by Oct. 1, so you'll want to get started soon.

The latest: The city ordered 1,000 bags of the seed this time and began selling them Wednesday afternoon.

  • Nearly half were sold in less than a day.
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