Grass alternative for my dogs?

heatherhillNovember 4, 2009

We've purchased a second home here in Queen Creek. I'm a Master Gardener on the Oregon but, boy, is this different! I don't want to plant any grass in the back yard but I'd like something other than crushed rock for my dogs to lounge on. Any suggestions? Whatever we do, we'll be starting from scratch since the previous owner never landscaped the back yard.

Thanks so much for your help!

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My first choice would be Dichondra (D. micrantha). In full sun it needs no mowing, though it will need twice-weekly watering and monthly feeding. If the pups use it as a bathroom, it will suffer more damage from urine than bermudagrass would.
If the area has some shade during the hottest part of the day--noon to 4:00 pm--you could use the groundcover thymes, though there will be more risk of bee stings when they bloom.
Myoporum (M. parvifolium or M. brevifolium) are a possibility that can grow in full sun, and is drought tolerant. They don't take traffic well, though, and they have the same bee problem when they bloom.
Hope these help! : )

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 5:38PM
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. I really like the idea of thymes . . . I grow some in Oregon in sunny, sloping areas where I can keep it from drowning but I never would have thought about using it here! Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 10:31PM
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Just remember to supply some shade during the hottest part of the day for the traditional groundcover thymes (creeping-, mother-of-, woolly-, etc.) or they won't survive the summer. Caraway thyme and common thyme can take full sun, but they don't make as dense and traffic tolerant a cover.
I just remembered that Korean grass is a possibility, too, but the low humidity here makes it somewhat more brown tinged than you probably remember.
Happy hunting! : ])

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 3:46PM
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azreno(z9 AZ)

Phyla nodiflora, Frog-Fruit, is a good one for using less water (once established) in full sun but it does also draw the bees. Is a wonderful spreader once it gets going and takes traffic very well. Will be hard to find though, mine came from Shady Way in east Mesa, I haven't seen it elsewhere and I haven't seen it there since but it would be worth a call to see.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Is there anything wrong with using the buffalo grass for dogs?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 4:11AM
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I've never heard of a problem, but it may be hard to find the right kinds of buffalo grass for the Valley. Queen Creek has a little more flex in that area than we "downtowners".

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 4:10PM
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If I were you I'd just plant a small patch of bermuda and overseed with rye in the winter. The dogs love it and it's practically carefree. Bermuda is so easy in a hot climate. All it needs is a little fertilizer and water. If you keep it clipped really short it will keep all weeds at bay.
It is highly drought resistant and a small patch would take very little care if surrounded by gravel.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 10:04AM
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