Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
3 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

Using salt to kill bermuda grass
May 12, 2009 - (Submitting to site per your request on Facebook, plus an added bit o'info) I am considering trying to kill off the bermuda grass around my raised bed with salt. Vinegar isn't cutting it.. S'pos...
view the full question and answer

Source for Habiturf sod in Central Texas
October 02, 2015 - Do you know any source for Habiturf sod in Central Texas? I contacted Blade Runner Farms and they replied that their Habiturf project was discontinued.
view the full question and answer

Need plants to control erosion on a hillside in Nashville, TN.
February 28, 2012 - Recently, a rogue contractor scraped all the sod off of my Tennessee hillside. Now the clay soil is exposed and washing away quickly. The hill slope is approximately 30 degrees. In the spring I'd ...
view the full question and answer

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Zen garden in North Carolina
November 03, 2007 - I am looking for plants that would be suitable for a ZEN style garden in North Carolina
view the full question and answer

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