Now Available: Native Grass Seed Mix
We sell a custom, drought tolerant, low grow, native grass seed mix, formulated by our NRCS District Conservationist and Rangeland Management Specialists. It is available for purchase through our online store or by-appointment, in our office near Powers Blvd and Airport Rd in Colorado Springs.
There is growing interest in the use of native grasses for home lawns in Colorado. Once established, a native grass lawn will generally require less irrigation, mowing, and fertilization than traditional bluegrass or fescue lawns. Whether beginning with a new landscape or converting an existing lawn to a native species, following some specific steps can help ensure success and reduce common problems. —Toni Koski, CSU Extension 2020
WHAT’S IN IT?
- The following seed (common name, variety, percentage) are in our native grass seed mix:
- Big Bluestem Native; Kaw, Bison, Champ; 20%
- Grama, Sideoats Native; Vaughn, Butte, El Reno, Niner; 10%
- Green Needlegrass Native; Lodorm; 10%
- Little Bluestem Native; Jazz, Twilight Zone, Blaze; 10%
- Prairie Sandreed Native; Goshen, Pronghorn; 10%
- Switchgrass Native; Blackwell, Greenville; 10%
- Wheatgrass, Western Native; Arriba, Barton; 20%
- Yellow Indiangrass Native; Cheyenne, Holt, Llano; 10%
- Mixes may vary slightly but the following is from our most recent distribution:
- Crop Seed: 0.00%
- Inert Matter: 12.25%
- Weed Seed: 0.10%
- Noxious Weeds: none found
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
USDA recommendation for this native grass seed mix is five (5) pounds per acre if drilled (using a grass seed drill) or ten (10) pounds per acre if broadcast.
GROWING THE SHOTGUN NATIVE GRASS SEED
SCHEDULE AND PREP
This shotgun native mix is best planted from November 1 to April 30 into soil that isn’t frozen or muddy. During this time, soil moisture and temperatures give these seeds the best opportunity to vernalize and store resources but not germinate until early spring (cool season seeds) or early summer (warm season seeds).
The seedbed is firm and free of competing vegetation. Seeds are placed at the proper depth: a loose, fluffy bed will place seeds too deep for germination.
Small areas can be seeded by broadcasting this mix. Roughen up the soil with a rake and spread the seed across the area; lightly rake back over but don’t incorporate the seed into the soil and risk a seed depth greater than 1/2″ to 1/4″. Large areas should be planted with a grass seed drill. Because the drill plants more accurately at a precise depth, you’ll need half the amount of broadcast seed.
During drought or low water conditions, water new seed during the first season but especially the first three weeks: outside of rain or snow, water early AM or late PM every-other-day so that the seed remains moist. Where seed was broadcast, care should be taken to not displace seed from strong water or grade runoff.
These grasses should be allowed to grow. Aggressive mowing induces dormancy, allows weed growth, promotes evaporation and increased temperature, limits ground cover and shade, reduces drought resistance, and impairs favorable conditions within the soil. Where required, mowing should be limited to one time, in early spring, and no less than 4″ height.
Healthy native grasses generally crowd out weeds; however if they happen to grow, weeds should be removed quickly.
You can apply fertilizer the day of seed planting and each 3-4 weeks after, but it isn’t required for a great, native grass lawn (and it can also feed weeds!).