August 21, 2009

City switching grass to save cash

Officials in Orlando, Fla., say a plan to replace St. Augustine grass on right-of-ways with a hardier variety will save taxpayers $340,000 a year.

City leaders said the new Bahia grass slated to replace the current St. Augustine grass in the $1 million scheme will save the city money in the long run by requiring less water, mowing and chemicals, WFTV, Orlando, reported Friday.

It costs so much to maintain the St. Augustine, especially the water, said John Hogue with the city of Orlando. He said the city uses 52 million gallons of water a year to keep the grass green, but the Bahia will need only rainwater.

It may not look green year-round, but it will be green in summer and green in spring, he said.

However, local landscaper John Stires said Bahia grass is difficult to work with.

It looks kinda of cheap, he said. Mowing it is a nightmare. Mowing Bahia is like trying to mow wire.