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The original item was published from 6/10/2019 11:09:39 AM to 7/17/2019 12:00:02 PM.

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Posted on: May 17, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Growing Sustainable Grass in the Desert


By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels

Published on Las Cruces Bulletin 5/17/2019

As Jackson Powers drives his golf cart down about three feet in elevation at the Fabian Garcia Research Center, it becomes noticeably cooler. Here, Powers is researching the different types of grasses that could be in your yard soon, ones more resistant to drought. If you want to learn more about what type of grasses work well in our area, head out to the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Lush & Lean Workshop on Thursday, May 23rd.

“Of course, there are environmental benefits to grass, like erosion control,” said Powers, “but there are also things like dust control and the actual cooling of an area where it’s planted.”

Powers is a New Mexico State University (NMSU) graduate student in Horticulture with an emphasis on Turfgrass Science and Management. He’s checking the drought stress of Bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, or Kentucky bluegrass at the research center, and also checking which pesticides and herbicides work best.

His Lush & Lean presentation, “Growing Grass in the Desert” will discuss which species of grass are the most environmentally friendly in Las Cruces. Plus, he will discuss the misconceptions of artificial turfgrass.

“Living grass will always need maintenance, but once you have the right amount of water for the type of grass you have, then you have more control,” he said. “Many people overwater. That won’t improve the grass; it just wastes water.”

And, too much water can equal standing water, which can lead to pests like mosquitoes, “which opens a whole other can of worms,” Powers said. “Calibrate your irrigation system and make sure you’re planting warm or cool grass at the correct time of the season.”

For those who want more answers about turf grass installation, Powers recommends reaching out to the NMSU Turf Club. More information can be found at:

All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave., in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at


You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.


PHOTO 1: Jackson Powers is happy to watch his grass grow while he learns more about what makes grass more resistant to drought stress. For those interested in learning more about grasses that are sustainable in Las Cruces, come to the LCU Lush and Lean Workshop on Thursday, May 23rd.

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