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Just Say No to St. Augustine grass

For those of you who live in the warm-season areas of the country as it relates to lawn grasses, you’ll want to take note of what’s happening in Tampa, Fla. A local lawmaker, Karl Nurse, was able to push through an ordinance limiting the amount of St. Augustine grass in any new landscape to 10 percent.

St. Augustine has been the lawn grass of choice for much of Florida for the last several decades. Landscapers love it because it requires an abundance of fertilizer and pesticides and needs to be mowed frequently, but that makes St. Augustine a bad environmental choice.

“We have used all of the cheap water. As we move toward more expensive water, which is water in our reservoir or desal, we will double the price of water,” Nurse told the local newspaper.

The ordinance doesn’t impact any lawns that are already in existence.

Alternative southern grasses include: Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, Paspalum, Zoysia and Carpetgrass.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Susan Hanlon

    Wow! Being a Tampa resident for over 20 yrs, I had my doubts an ordinance like this this would actually be pushed through. It’s good though with the water demands and drought we have been experiencing. The home we just purchased has St. Augustine so we’ll keep it – we just have to live within the water constraints – and I’m already looking for ways to grow it organically the best I can. I’m also amused that I found this post today by Mr. Tukey on the same day that I checked his book out of the library on organic landscaping. H-m-m-m-m, how’s that for timing? The grass is demanding – I hope I have success with the organic methods because pesticides make my dog ill.

    • Paul Tukey

      If you follow the techniques in the book, you should be able to transition to organic lawn care fairly easily. I’m also helping to bring an organic lawn care company to Florida, which will hopefully be in your area soon. Go organic!

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