Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



New Weapon in Water Conservation Wars: The Peanut

rhizoma perennial peanut is a new groundcover that saves water and reduces the need for fertilizerThe University of Florida has come up with a new tool for property owners to make significant strides in water conservation: the peanut, or at least, a distant cousin called rhizoma perennial peanut. The colorful groundcover does not bear edible goobers, but it does have lush foliage and light orange flowers.  Looks aside, it can thrive on half the water that turfgrass uses.


Perennial peanut groundcover offers another advantage over turfgrass, too.  Being a legume, it makes its own nitrogen and therefore requires very little fertilizer.  Although excess nitrogen is typically thought of as a water quality issue in commercial agriculture, according to the U.S. EPA homeowners tend about 40 million acres of turfgrass, making it the fifth largest crop in the country.

Turfgrass for Me, Not for Thee

That’s right, household turfgrass is only behind corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay in terms of cropland acreage, and it uses about the same amount of fertilizer as row crops.  Outdoor watering also accounts for 30% of household water use, much of that likely going to turfgrass.  In other words, individual households cumulatively play a major role in in water quality issues related to lawn care. Nevertheless, according to studies cited by the EPA  most people don’t perceive that their lawn contributes to water quality problems, and they are much more likely to blame their neighbor’s lawn.

The Perennial Peanut Solution for Water Conservation

There is plenty of guidance available on lawn care, with the aim of getting land owners to use only the minimum amount of fertilizer needed for healthy turfgrass. However, the EPA found that as few as 10% of land owners test their soil to see how much is needed, and most don’t check the content of fertilizer before they apply it.  It’s a clear indication that public education has its limits, and the long term solution will be to shift the American aesthetic away from turfgrass.  Low maintenance groundcovers like the perennial peanut can offer a more effective alternative because of their built-in incentives: reducing water bills and cutting down on the amount of time a homeowner needs to dedicate to lawn care.

Image: Peanuts by Euromagic on

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Yale Climate Connections has shared how installing solar panels over California’s 4,000 miles of open canals could save around 65 billion gallons of water...

Clean Power

Projects in 13 States Boast Potential to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Costs in Water Systems, Improve Water Quality

Climate Change

Methane emissions from making fertilizer are 140 times greater than reported, according to researchers at Cornell and EDF. The implications for the planet are...


Voters in Toledo have approved a Bill of Rights for Lake Erie, giving it legally protected status. What happens next?

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.