Researchers at the Aprilscherz Institute of Horticultural Technology of Wunschdenken, Germany, have announced the development of a self-mowing lawn grass that will be introduced next year.
The blades of this new cultivar of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), ‘Unsinn 382’, develop an abscission layer near the leaf tip when it reaches a height of 8 to 10 cm (3 ¼ to 4 inches) in height, causing the tip to drop off neatly. This stimulates the growth of new leaves from the base that likewise “drop their top” when they reach the same height, resulting in a uniform, no-mow lawn. Any flower stalks likewise drop off, in this case, before they’re even visible.
The height of the lawn varies slightly according to conditions, around 8 cm in full sun and drier soil and up to 10 cm in partial shade and moist conditions, but the effect will be uniform throughout the lawn if conditions are equal. The clipped leaf tips help feed the grass plants, which will therefore require a bit less fertilizer than a normal lawn.
‘Unsinn 382’ is fast-growing, resistant to many common lawn diseases, reasonably heat- and drought- resistant, quick to fill in and hardy from USDA zones 3 to 7, possibly 8. It can be grown from seed, but turfgrass producers will also be offering ready-to-plant sod.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” commented Kurt Rasenbauer, a turfgrass grower from Kuhdung, Germany who has trialed the new lawn grass for the last three years. “Given only moderate fertilization, it makes a perfectly even lawn with no mowing whatsoever and very few weeds. It’s going to change the world of turfgrass production! We’ll be switching our entire production to this new line once we get the go-ahead.”
‘Unsinn 382’ will be offered commercially as lawn seed in both European and North American markets under the trade name Short and Neat® as of April 1st, 2019.
For further information, contact the Aprilscherz Institute of Horticultural Technology at www.aprilfoolslawn.com.