Cash For Grass
The South Platte Natural Resources District continues to sponsoring its Cash For Grass program, which gives landowners in certain areas the opportunity to help protect ground water supplies by choosing buffalograss over traditional cool season lawns.
Cash For Grass began as a pilot program in 2005 within the city of Sidney, with the goal of replacing 12,000 sq. ft. of traditional lawn area with buffalograss. That initial goal was easily surpassed and since then, the program has expanded throughout the South Platte NRD and seen about 38,000 sq. ft. of lawns converted to buffalograss.
Buffalograss lawn (left) compared to traditional lawn.
Buffalograss has been deemed the best program choice for benefits in several areas. In most cases .5 to 1 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. is appropriate for a low to medium maintenance turf, about one-third the amount required for a healthy cool grass lawn. In addition, maintaining buffalograss has a lower water requirement, approximately 50-75% less than cool season grasses, depending on conditions. Less water application greatly reduces the chances of nitrogen leaching into ground water, lessens the chance for runoff into storm drains and has the added benefit of less water being drawn from the aquifer. Buffalograss also is less susceptible to many of the pests associated with traditional turf grass, potentially reducing the amount of pesticides used.
Properties selected for program enrollment must be located in communities served by public water suppliers, including Kimball, Sidney, Chappell, Potter, Dix, Bushnell, Dalton, Gurley, Lodgepole, and Big Springs or within wellhead protection areas. Installations may be located in either the front yard or back yard, but no single converted area shall be less than 300 square feet.
Applicants must agree to a brief pre-inspection before their project begins. As a method of follow-up, a post-inspection will be conducted before rebates are issued, and participants must agree to not remove the new turf for at least five years, or as long as they own the property. Yard signs would identify the Cash For Grass project areas and be left in place for not less than two years to advertise the benefits of buffalograss.
Owners of approved project properties can receive up to $150.00 reimbursement for their choice of either Cody or Bowie brand buffalograss seed, or Legacy® buffalograss plugs. Owners will purchase approved varieties, then receive reimbursement following the property’s post-inspection.
Those interested in choosing buffalograss for their project are urged to contact the SPNRD at 308-254-2377 for more information. Application deadline is May 1. Once approved, project yards should be prepared and ready to have buffalograss seeded or installed between June 1 and June 15 so proper growth can be obtained by the estimated post-inspections, expected to be around September 1.