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Thursday, 03 May 2012 15:38


It may be soggy outside, but make no mistake – drought is on its way!
Here’s how Barenbrug’s Water Saver grass seed mixture can help keep
your lawn alive during this summer’s drought and hosepipe ban

This spring and summer, gardeners’ hopes of a healthy, green lawn may dry up before they can be realised. Believe it or not, it’s been the driest spring in 30 years across England and Wales, so the threat of summer drought is very much a real one.

Spring and summer rain doesn’t replenish the ground-water table, which is why areas of East Anglia and the South East are already officially in drought, with parts of the Midlands and South West edging slowly towards ‘near-drought’ status. Hosepipe bans are unavoidable, with seven water companies proposing restrictions, forcing gardeners to become smart and savvy with their water usage.
But – as you start to turn your attentions to the garden in between the wet and windy spells – how can you maintain a healthy, green lawn in the grip of a hosepipe ban? Specialist grass seed breeder Barenbrug could be your saviour. Green Velvet Water Saver is an innovative grass seed formulation that can help gardeners keep their lawn alive in even the most challenging conditions.

Water Saver features RTF (Rhizomatous tall fescue), a grass specially bred by Barenbrug for its strong and prolific underground stems – called rhizomes. These stems tiller through the soil to spread the plant’s roots both horizontally and vertically and, in turn, form new grass growth on the surface. Because RTF boasts a deep-rooting capability of 1.5 metres (compared to just 15 to 20cm in many other lawn grasses), its swards can withstand prolonged periods of drought.

Water Saver does precisely as the name suggests – conserving water and lessening the need for watering, an impressive environmental credential that’s also earned the product the prestigious Waterwise Marque. With its denser sward preventing moisture loss via evaporation from the soil’s surface, plus its deep-roots finding moisture where other grasses fail, Water Saver is in fact the first grass seed to be applauded for its water conservation capacity.

Whether renovating an existing lawn or sowing anew, the key with Water Saver is to get the seed into the ground now. Sow it at the correct depth (as advised on the packet) and ideally in soil temperatures above 12 degrees C, then irrigate well for the first two to three weeks until it is established. Though watering by hand will be a chore, the good news is that seed demands a lot less water than turf and, once established, the RTF will give the drought tolerance you’re looking for.

And when the rain makes an appearance later in the year, RTF has another trick up its sleeve. Its rhizomatous nature means it’s self-repairing, too! So, unlike other grasses that clump together, it can fill in bare patches caused by environmental stresses, thanks to its ‘roving’ rhizomes. The characteristics that give RTF its drought tolerance also bring other benefits, such as wear and waterlogging tolerance, shade, salt and frost tolerance, great surface strength and the ability to flourish in all soil types.

So whether you’re planting a new lawn or renovating an existing one, Water Saver with RTF is the ideal choice for the environmentally-conscious gardener looking for a lawn that will survive in today’s changing climate.

Water Saver is part of Barenbrug’s Green Velvet lawn seed range, which is available to buy from www.greenvelvetlawnseed.co.uk as well as garden centres and country stores nationwide. The range is sold in 500g, 2.5kg, 12.5kg and 20kg packs, costing from £7.99.

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