Local News

Cary to Pay Owners of Drought-Tolerant Grass

Posted April 12, 2008 7:24 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2008 6:33 a.m. EDT

— Cary officials are planning to pay $500 to homeowners who go from regular grass to warm-season grass, a change that some residents have already done.

Richard Redpath, a Cary homeowner, recently had his centipede grass removed and replaced it with a checkerboard look, which includes drought-tolerant grass. The grass doesn’t need to be watered.

“It makes me cringe to pull out a sprinkler to water the lawn. It’s just a waste of water,” Redpath said.

Redpath’s lawn is a mix of rye grass and Zoysia, a drought-tolerant grass shipped from New Bern.

The Zoysia is currently brown, but will start to turn green in May. It will go dormant or brown for about half of the year. A disadvantage of Zoysia grass is its extremely invasive nature. It tends to spread into flower beds and neighboring lawns.

Redpath said the new grass allows him to mow his lawn just twice a year.

Water Conservation Coordinator Marie Cefalo said the town had has a “flood of interest” in the drought-free grass. Cary's fielded hundreds of calls about its turf buy-back program, which starts July 1.

Cefalo said the staff is still discussing details, including options to pay homeowners, including whether to issue a check to the homeowner or have owners get a credit to their water bill.

It's still undecided whether homeowners who've already made the switch will qualify.