RTF Water Saver
A new and interesting grass variety

When something, such as a new grass seed, sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

That said, the newly developed RTF water saver, (acronym for Rhizomatus Tall Fescue, more info later,) grass, really might live up to at least some of the advertising claims being made for it. There are a few sod growers using it but it is now being packaged as a consumer grass seed under the label RTF Water Saver. I have just acquired a sample and a portion of my often reseeded lawn will be used as a test area once again. Dallying In The Dirt, my regular ezine will keep it’s readers up to date on the performance of this product over the coming months.

RTF water saver

There have been several attempts to market a variety of fescues such as Tall Fescue, Festuca arundinacea as a turf grass with mixed success. It does have some considerable drought tolerance due to its very deep root system and will survive in some shade. It’s clumping growth habit made it very slow to spread or fill in a damaged area. This new variety,RTF watersaver, is a result of developing a cultivar that has a rhizomatus habit. That is, it produces lots of underground stems, called rhizomes, that quickly spread the grass to make a thick stand and to fill in any damaged areas. The inability to survive much traffic has always been my complaint about these new gras seed mixtures.

RTF watersaver has a rather quick germination time of 8 - 12 days, as opposed to the 4 weeks of our standard bluegrass varieties. This also makes it much easier for home owners to establish a new lawn from seed. It can also make good inroads into an established lawn by overseeding. The short germination time should also make it easier to establish in the spring. We have traditionally seeded lawns in the fall so that it is easier to keep the soil moist for a long enough period to have the seed germinate but we all want to fix up a poor lawn when we notice it in the spring.

Quick germination, rapid fill in from its rhizomatus nature, drought and shade tolerant, good colour even in dry summer areas, the need for substantially less water and fertilizer, all make this sound like RTF water saver will be a great new addition to our attempts to have an easy, good looking, lawn. My sample will be planted this spring (2011) and after I have actually seen it perform under my haphazard care and management will I really be prepared to attest to its ability. Stay tuned.

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