A true painted desert? Colorants an overseeding answers

In doing some interviews for an story on overseeding that ran in the Desert Sun and mydesert.com Sunday, I had a chance to talk to Dr. Jim Baird, who is a turfgrass specialist at UC Riverside. We talked a lot about how some day overseeding might not be necessarily, and some of the things Dr. Baird told me were surprising.

For instance, I was under the opinion that efforts to develop a year-long grass had kind of be put on the back burner by scientists. Instead, Baird said that he is convinced that such a Bermuda grass, one that doesn’t turn brown in winter temperatures in the desert, will be developed. But it won’t be next year or even the next 10 years. Baird said if he’s lucky, that kind of grass with be laid over his grave.

But equally surprising to be was Baird’s assertion that perhaps the best way to avoid overseeding in the coming years will be colorants. Colorants are dyes and paint (basically) that can turn a brown golf course green.

Now, think about that for a minute. Imagine spraying something on about 120 acres of golf course that will turn a brown, dormant golf course into a green course. Something that would be naturally based, has no impact on things like people or water tables, but let golfers play on a green golf course.

I imagine when you think about something like that, you might think about another image, like that fake blue water you see at so many courses in the desert, something that looks horribly unnatural. But Baird insists that many of the colorants he has seen in action tend to look quite real. And the dormant Bermuda grass is still healthy and can be used for a golf course.

So get out your paint brush or you spray gun. Maybe painted golf courses are the way of the future for Coachella Valley golf courses.