En Español

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 Drought Tolerant Questions

Tolerance of plants in area of Amarillo TX
March 24, 2013 - I want to know tolerance in the Amarillo area for Diospyros texana, Berberis trifoliata, and Capsicum annuum where it gets colder, is dry, and intensely hot in summer.
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
view the full question and answer

Range and adaptability of evening primrose from Tucson AZ
August 28, 2009 - What is the natural range of the evening primrose? What adaptations does it have to live in the arid Southwest?
view the full question and answer

Need a drought resistant, maintenance free tree in Thomasville, GA.
April 20, 2012 - I have been through many tree forums and asked several nurseries about a good tree to plant but nobody has provided an adequate answer and I hope you can help. I live in SW Georgia (Zone 8) and need ...
view the full question and answer

Will Bermuda grass survive a drought-induced dormancy?
August 12, 2015 - If I stop watering a Bermuda grass lawn and let it go dormant, will it green up again when it rains again?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center