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Grass Grows Everywhere, Even in the Middle East... Water Not So Much

Dec 27 2010
jpenrose's picture

If you're in the grass business, snow on the ground means its time to take a little vacation and start thinking about the spring season. I'm doing a little of both during a year-end trip. My travels are taking me to Jordan and Egypt this time, and I'm seeing a lot of grass. Construction has been booming in the arab world, fueled by petro-dollars for sure but also by growing, increasingly well-educated populations and liberalizing economies.

Lawn at Sharm-El-SheikhLawn at Kings AcademyEgypt is a case in point. The capital city, Cairo is home to 20 million people and has increased 3-fold in land area over the past decade. Cairo has literally bloomed in the desert thanks to the Nile. New residential tracts and office buildings in Cairo and resorts along the Red Sea in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh (photo, left) sport beautiful patches of grass. Jordan is another case. A small country with limited natural resources, Jordan is investing in human capital. Schools like the innovative King's Academy (photo, right) and universities have sprouted up to educate a growing middle class. As a result, Jordan now enjoys the second highest literacy rate in the Middle East - at 93% trailing only Lebanon.

Sustainable techniques like planting in palm shade and selecting appropriate grass species make these lawns work in high heat and desert dryness. Discussions with several builders and architects during my trip suggest there's appetite for even more sustainable approaches.