No water grass?

colokid(5)October 16, 2010

It appears that my bid on a new place to live has been accepted.

No lawn there, but sizable front yard with a couple of maple trees. I've had experience in trying to start grass where there are tree roots. kind of a loosing battle. But anyway, I am open to suggestion on what type of grass would do OK without constant watering. It doesn't have to be as nice as or greener than the neighbors. North of Denver.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

Congratulations on your new property. This grass guaranteed to take NO water :-)

But if you want real landscaping that doesn't take much water you might look into some xeriscaping.
Buffalo grass doesn't take much water but it doesn't like shade. Fescue is fairly drought tolerant but does require water.

If it were my yard I think I'd start sketching a master plan something that involved some mulch / flower beds, possibly some rock work and a bit of grass.

Is your yard irrigated?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buffalo grass and blue grama will probably stay green in the summer with little (if any irrigation). The problem with them is that they're warm season grasses and will go dormant fairly early in the fall and they'll turn green later in the spring. I've got some blue grama and it's turning brown now (this is fairly late, but it hasn't been as cold as usual this year). I don't have any buffalo grass, but my understanding is that it has a shorter green season than blue grama. Seeded buffalo grass can cause allergy problems and will produce burrs with fairly large seeds. Buffalo grass spreads via above ground stolons. Blue grama is primarily a bunch grass, but spreads a little via tillering (new plants right next to the existing plant) and mowing will encourage more tillering.

A couple of other options are wheatgrasses. All of these are cool season grasses.

Streambank wheatgrass is a fine bladed grass that will go dormant if it isn't watered, but can be dormant for a really long time and snap back when it gets a little water. It's a lighter green than KBG or fescue. If you have sandy soil, thickspike wheatgrass is similar to streambank wheatgrass but does better on in sandy conditions. It spreads via rhizomes.

Western wheatgrass has extremely deep roots and stays green longer than streambank wheatgrass, but since so much of the root system is so deep, it takes more water to get it to break dormancy. It may also take a little longer to turn green in the summer. It has wider leaves than streambank wheatgrass and is sort of blue in color. It's also a bit harder to get to establish. It spreads aggressively via rhizomes.

Crested wheatgrass is much easier to establish than the others. It can do well with little water, but it goes into dormancy faster than the other two. It is more yellow early on, but after it gets well established it turns greener. Most crested wheatgrasses are bunch grasses, but newer varieties will spread via rhizomes (although not as much as the other two).

Another option is clover. If you use clover, you can't use weed and feed, because it will kill the clover. You can spray weed killers, but you need to spot spray and not spray the whole lawn. Dutch white clover is the most drought tolerant. Strawberry clover does better in alkaline soil. If you use strawberry clover, Palestine is the most drought tolerant.

You could use any of these in your lawn without any water and they'd stay alive, but if you want the lawn to stay green, you'll need to water every once in a while. I've got a lawn with all of the above (except buffalo grass). I try to water 3 times a year--On or around July 4, July 24 and August 15. We usually get some rain in September, but this year was dry, so parts of my lawn went dormant.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Wow bpgreen - thanks for a lot of great info! So you have a mix of everything, except the Buffalo? I'd love to see how that looks. Do you have any pics you can share?

We have a section of our lawn that is Buffalo grass. It's not in shade, but it still has a short green life. I'm not fond of it. 'course maybe it's because there is such a mix of weeds and Buffalo there, but it is just not very attractive IMO.

Not sure what the rest of our lawn is. But it's does fairly well, as a good portion gets some afternoon shade from our trees. We are thinking about making the section that is Buffalo a non-grass area - pathway and xeric plant borders - instead. Should be easier to maintain and cut back on the amount of water required to keep the yard looking nice. Now that they are talking about water rates going up, that sounds even better!


    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 10:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

Nice. How do you keep the broadleaves out of there BP?

I can say with certainty that blue grama has many invaders that need management and is tough to establish to get going to outcompete invaders. I can walk 4 minutes to the south or north and observe two broad expanses of lawn an area with some blue grama and other plants. The good lawn areas around here with blue grama take much work initially.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am enjoying this discussion, like all ways from you good friends.
I do own a ranch with many of the pasture grasses, western wheat, side oats gramm, buffalo, etc. Just don't know how they would do on a lawn. No crested wheat grass, cause the way it bunches. Some one mentioned fescue, and i wonder how common old brome would look in a yard.
Is it too late to plant like the first of November? I would be roughing the dirt up and scattering seed and hoping for a rain.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chris32599(9b-10a AZ usa)

bpgreen nice looking lawn!!! you only water 3x a year? Thats great... I have one question... How often do you mow your lawn??

I have an acre in the mts in AZ and want to plant a carefree lawn that will live off the rainfall.. Its at about 7000 feet.. Its gets about 21 inches of rain a year. May and June can be quite dry, most years with less than 2 inches falling btween the two months. July and Aug both get about 2.5 to 3 inches each. Sept about 1.5 to 2 inches.

I was thinking of trying streambank and western wheatgrass. What do you think???

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I mow about once a week, but when it's hot and dry, the grass grows much more slowly and I sometimes only have to water about once every three weeks.

I think those would do well in those conditions.

If the soil is sandy, you might want to use thickspike wheatgrass in place of streambank. They're similar except that streambank is more adapted to clay and thickspike is more adapted to sand.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 3:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a small lawn in our backyard that is artificial turfgrass, and we love it! It started as a joke when my hubby and I were planning our landscaping last year...we saw some at our local park and jokingly said we should get it in our backyard. The more we looked into it, the more we liked the idea. I don't normally like "fake" plants compared to natural, but this has been great. I can spend all my energy and time on the gardens, and the grass always looks great with absolutely no effort. It costs quite a bit more initially, but the payoff comes over the years with no watering or maintenance.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chris32599(9b-10a AZ usa)

bpgreen just two more questions...

1) if you don't mow it how tall does it get?

2) when is the best time to plant if you not planning on watering it??.... I was planning on a late fall planting because of all the winter moisture and snow and the moisture is more stable... summer raim can be spotty with dry periods beteen wet periods...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you don't mow, I think it will get to about 15-20 inches tall. I'm just guessing though.

If you're not planning to use any water at all, late fall is probably the best time to plant. If you get cold enough, a dormant seeding is probably best. That's what I've had the best luck with.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 6:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
RMG - How do I do it -- Where do I find it thread!
Hi all, I just thought I'd start a thread here for...
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
Raised Bed - How to Deal with Dogs
We purchased a house a couple years ago that had a...
Sean Hull
Roses for the Front Range- Highly recommended type
Everyone, I'd highly recommend that you check out Buck...
Eating my Poppies
I know, poppies are supposed to be one of those plants...
Howdy from Montana
Howdy to all you Rocky Mountain folks. . . I cant believe...
Sponsored Products
Classic Wicker Plantation Outdoor Rocker with Cushions, Patio Furniture
Modern Round Polished Chrome Tub and Rain Shower Faucet
Missoni Home | Pasadena Pillow 16x16
Axor | Citterio Thermostatic Trim with Cross Handle
$704.16 | YBath
Americh Roc Madrid 5932 Freestanding Bathtub (59" x 32" x 24")
Modern Bathroom
Basics Square Decanter
Henri Studio Large Two-Tier Lenesco Outdoor Fountain
Lamps Plus
Traditional Column Radiator Heater Cast Iron Style White 11.8 x 27.8
Hudson Reed
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™