Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - July 02, 2012

From: Rifle, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replacement for Kentucky grass in Colorado
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What kind of grass to replace "Kentucky grass"? It uses too much water. Need drought tolerant grass for the Rifle, Colorado area ("zip code is 81650"). Water bill is way too high, pushing over $100.00 a month.

ANSWER:

Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass) with its high water requirements is definitely not the grass you want to have in Colorado's dry climate.  Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) is the grass for you.   Please read our article Native Lawns: Buffalograss.  Buffalograss, once established, requires little water and little mowing.  Until it is established you will need to do some watering and you will need to keep ahead of the weeds by pulling them and mowing.  Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) is another grass with similar properties that you can plant along with buffalograss.  Native American Seeds in Junction, Texas sells a seed mix called Native Sun Turfgrass that contains 80% buffalograss seeds and 20% blue grama.  Here is more information on blue grama as a turf grass from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Service.  Since Rifle, Colorado is at about 5,000 feet, however, the Texas mix may not be the best choice.   The Colorado State University Extension's article on Buffalograss Lawns suggests several varieties that are better adapted to the lower temperatures associated with higher elevations, such as Legacy.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses to replace mondo grass in California
March 30, 2009 - Hello - I live in the Southern California coastal zone, and am looking for a drought resistant, turf alternative. My husband wants to use "Mondo Grass", but I know that is not native to the regi...
view the full question and answer

Critter-Proof Native Plants for Virginia Lawn
April 02, 2015 - We live in a gated community that was part of the Wilderness Battlefield during the Civil War. Our home is on a narrow lot, fully treed except for a postage stamp-sized lawn at lake side. We have de...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Contra Costa County, CA
September 17, 2014 - We live in Kensington, just north of Berkeley, in the San Francisco area. We intend to get rid of our water consuming lawn and we are wondering what kind of alternative you would suggest. You don't s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for North Myrtle Beach SC
June 05, 2012 - What plants will do well at North Myrtle Beach, SC that will take full sun with dry soil?
view the full question and answer

Do white-tailed deer consume King Ranch bluestem?
October 25, 2013 - Will white-tail deer in central Texas consume King Ranch bluestem ?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.