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Good native grass for Bay Area that will tolerate dog traffic?

Posted by artemis78 SF Bay Area (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 5, 09 at 3:54

After a couple of years, we've finally killed almost all of our bermuda grass and are getting ready to move forward with seeding or sodding a more drought tolerant lawn in this area. I'd initially looked at carex pansa and festuca rubra as options, but am having second thoughts about how these will hold up to a large dog running across the lawn regularly.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with these grasses or others that might hold up well to moderate to heavy traffic (85 lb young dog) but also be drought tolerant (dry summers, rainy winters) and grow in heavy clay soil? (I know, I'm asking for a lot! :)

Our patch is pretty small since we've landscaped most of it to non-lawn uses, but we would like to preserve an area that can be run in freely by dogs/kids/etc. Doesn't need to be grass per se---just something that will not be mud in winter and not have to be continually reseeded to keep in shape. We aren't picky about appearances and are looking at grasses that don't need to be mowed regularly.

Any suggestions would be great--thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Good native grass for Bay Area that will tolerate dog traffic

I've never planted a lawn of it, but I've planted a clump of Carex praegracilis in heavy clay soil with two young 60-pound dogs trampling on it regularly, and I found that it didn't at all mind the long, dry, summers that get much hotter here in the Sacramento Valley than for you in the Bay Area. I've been extremely pleased with it; the only problem I've had with it is that Bermuda grass came up in the middle of it and I had a very difficult time separating them. The sedge wasn't entirely thrilled about having me tear up its roots to extract the Bermuda grass. But after sulking limply for a few months, the sedge did recover and survive.

RE: Good native grass for Bay Area that will tolerate dog traffic

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 7, 09 at 11:01

You don't way whether this is shaded in winter, or full sun. Almost any turf grass, and especially the heavily promoted Tall Fescue Blends will tend to thin out and get weaker with limited winter sun and poor drainage. My experience with C. praegacilis is that it also prefers a faster draining soil mix, and can rot out in heavy clay soils with poor drainage. I'd suggest that C. divulsa/berkeley sedge might be a tougher choice, or if you have full sun, you might consider Dymondia margaratae.

RE: Good native grass for Bay Area that will tolerate dog traffic

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 11, 09 at 19:40

What about UC Verde?

Here is a link that might be useful: Information on UC Verde low water lawn for California

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