Help me select the right lawn for my high altitude home

peachespoeAugust 23, 2013

Hi! I am new to posting on this forum but have been reading it for some time. I would love some help figuring out what type of lawn to plant here in zone 3 (creeping up to a 4) Wyoming (6000ft).

We are getting ready to seed a new lawn (about 2000 sq. ft) in the back of our house. We have killed all the existing vegetation, added amendments, raked out the rocks, and installed a sprinkler system. I have purchased 4 bags of Strawnet to mulch over the seed once it has been laid down.

We would like to spread the seed soon before temps drop too much. I am having the hardest time deciding on what kind of seed to plant. These are our criteria:

-Would like to reduce mowing to 1 every 2 wks (ideally).
-Cut down on our water usage but will water if/when necessary.
-Medium amount of traffic...a 4 year old doing cartwheels but no dogs. May want to have some lawn chairs scatted around.
-We are against using weed and feed type chemicals so will hand weed, but prefer a healthy turf that will out compete weeds. Willing to spread corn gluten meal.
-Clay soil but good drainage.
-Mostly sunny, but in a few years will have filtered shade for a few hours everyday from Aspens (yes, I know they will grow into the lawn).
-Stay pretty green and soft during the heat of the summer. July can have weeks with the high temps in the 80s and 90s.

I am considering the following mixes: Eco Lawn by Wildflower Farms; Enviro-turf by Bluestem nursery; Defiance XRE Blue; Seedland Traditional Fine Fescue Seed Mix; a Tall Fescue mix from a local nursery; or may look for a dwarf Tall fescue blend. I would also considering mixing any of these or even my own.

Anyone used any of these mixes? Anyone LOVE their lawn and want to share what kind of seed they used...Tall fescue, fine fescue, bluegrass, etc.?

Thanks for you help! (I also posted this one the Lawn Forum).

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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

You might want to call Pawnee Buttes Seed Company in Greeley, CO. They have vast experience helping homeowners as well as agriculture people in the Rocky Mountain West. They can advise you well. They have a list of all the seed they have on their website. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pawnee Buttes Seed

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:48AM
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I'd stay away from anything with Kentucky blue grass. It just takes too much water for a dry climate.

My lawn is KBG, but I have lots of irrigation water that I pay a fixed rate/year, so might as well.....

I'd look into Buffalo grass or Crested Wheatgrass - maybe even a combination of both. They both do will with minimum watering, although they take a year longer to get established.

Several people who post on the forum have done this. I hope they add their advice....

At the link is a source

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Thank you! That is helpful advice. I will look into those varieties.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Hi, peaches. I'd recommend you investigate buffalo grass, especially one of the improved varieties like 'Legacy'. I suggest this because you mentioned you don't want to have to frequently fertilize or mow your grass. Buffalo grass fits both these requirements.

However, since buffalo grass is a warm season grass, I believe it's too late in the season to attempt planting buffalo grass in your climate. But if budget is no problem, check with sod suppliers for buffalo grass sod.

The most economical way to establish a lawn of 'Legacy' buffalo grass is by plugs (little plants planted a foot apart which eventually spread and fill in.) This variety can't be seeded because it's a clone. I've grown Legacy and it can stand 110+ temps and below zero weather.

I hope this helps. Let us know what you decide.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 7:48PM
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I would double check to make sure your altitude is not too high for buffalo grass- I may be wrong, but I'm thinking it's better at a little lower altitude.

My neighbor when I lived in CO @7000' had Blue Grama. It's also a warm season grass.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 3:11AM
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