We’ve gotten used to seeing all kinds of lawns in LA since the drought. But we’d never seen a painted lawn and we were surprised to learn why it was painted.
We contacted the owner who told us that yes, he was trying to cut back on water, but not to save money or water, though he’s happy to take savings, but his main goal was to eradicate an infestation of Invasive Aedes mosquitoes in the lawn that had made it impossible to go outside.
At first, Francis Gentile told us he thought it was fleas that were attacking the ankles of anyone who walked across the grass. To be sure, he set up a fan with a screen to capture the insects over a period of a few days. When he examined his catch, he could see the distinctive Invasive Aedes mosquito which can live in very small amounts of water and whose larvae can stay dormant for up to two years without any water at all.
So last summer, Gentile decided to dethatch his lawn to reduce the accumulation of turf material and, hopefully, remove the habitat for the mosquitoes. After it was de-thatched, he stopped watering. Eventually, a “rustic” lawn emerged from the winter rains, which looked decent, according to Gentile, until the weather heated up and then it started to turn yellow.
“I knew that was going to happen, so I started doing some research on lawn paint used by golf courses to cover up patches that just don’t grow,” explained Gentile.
He eventually settled on Endurant Perennial Rye made by Geoponics because it was one of the paints that had some color options and seemed to get the best reviews online. The material is applied with an insect sprayer and diluted with water. Gentile told us he covered the front lawn and the parkway in front of his house for about $200.
“It’s much better this year,” said Gentile about the mosquitoes. “We’ll have to see how it lasts and how the color holds up.”
Gentile says painting the lawn seems to be more effective than applying a poison to kill the mosquitoes that can cause severe allergies in people and pets and kills other beneficial insects like bees. Plus, he expects the paint to last for months versus an insecticide that only lasts a few weeks. And, his neighbors are thankful to have fewer mosquitoes in the neighborhood!