Genetics & Grass

Thomas Bjorkman Thomas_Bjorkman at
Fri Jan 27 10:13:40 EST 1995

In article <3g98m3$2vt at>, pgr1 at (Paul
Geoffrey Rubel) wrote:

Genetic engineering is not the answer to everything!  There are already a
number of commonly available turf mixes that are either dwarf
(low-growing) or slow-growing.  I use one from Seedway called Lo-Gro mix,
designed for use in orchards.  The disadvantage of these is that the turf
does not cover up divots and such very quickly, so they are not so good
for high-traffic areas or playing fields.  The other consideration is that
people have VERY precise ideas about what a good lawn is supposed to look
like.  To get it to look the "right" way sometimes demands extermely high
inputs.  Simply having people accept a different green color and a
different texture opens up the availablility of grass types that are
good-looking, that do not require as much mowing, and that require fewer
inputs.  Eliminating the ritual "Weed and Feed" application would help

One other thing to consider is that in some parts of the country, and
certainly in rural New York, mowing grass is something of a religion. 
Spending a couple of hours on the riding mower twice a week is an
essential cultural ritual.  You will meet great resistance if you try to
prevent this.

>   My engineering graphics class has been working on alternate ways of 
> controlling grass. We will will eventually lead up to taking a good look at 
> an electric lawnmower, in the meantime we are trying to look for alternate 
> ways to control it.  I was wondering if it is possible/feasable to genitacally
> engineer grass so that it only grows to a few inches in height or grows so
> very slowly that it would only need to be mowed once a month or so.  We're
> in St. Louis if climate is anything.

Thomas Bjorkman    Dept. of Horticultural Sciences   Cornell University

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