Living: The Grass Looks Greener

A breakthrough could save some ugly Sunbelt lawns

For a suburbanite, few experiences are more wrenching than watching a lush green lawn turn brown and scraggly. All across the increasingly arid U.S. Sunbelt, homeowners are facing that disheartening prospect. Because of persistent droughts and rapid population growth, there is not nearly enough water to keep every plot of grass green. Los Angeles, in the fourth year of a dry spell, recently imposed water rationing, and South Florida, which absorbs as many as 1,000 newcomers a day, has been needing more rain for two years.

But Sunbelters should not buy Astroturf just yet. Help may be on the way. Researchers...

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