Texas A&M Reports Findings from SAWS-TPT 60-Day Turfgrass Drought Study

Texas A&M University researchers recently reported their findings from a two year study designed to determine which turfgrasses could recover most effectively from a 60-day imposed drought.

The study, which was commissioned by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and the Turfgrass Producers of Texas and conducted under the direction of Dr. David Chalmers, compared 25 turfgrass varieties, including several types of St. Augustine grass, Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and buffalograss.  The study resulted in part from a proposal by SAWS to ban the use of St. Augustinegrass, which they categorized as a “high water user”.

Photo Courtesy of Texas A&M University
Photo Courtesy of Texas A&M University

The grasses in the study were planted in plots which could be rapidly covered by a mobile rainout shelter whenever precipitation was detected by sensors.

The grasses were subjected to 60 days without any supplemental irrigation, after which irrigation was resumed and recovery monitored.  The study was replicated in year two.

The results?  All grasses in both years survived the enforced period of drought and eventually recovered when planted on soil with an unrestricted depth.

Read the full report and see the list of turfgrasses and their performance on the Texas A&M website here:  Final SAWS Report to Cooperators.