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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
SCHEDULE & 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 ½” to ¼”. 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 but it isn’t required for a great, native grass lawn.
Includes: Common Name; Variety; Percent
Big Bluestem Native; Kaw, Bison, or Champ; 20%
Grama, Sideoats Native; Vaughn, Butte, El Reno, or Niner; 10%
Green Needlegrass Native; Lodorm; 10%
Little Bluestem Native; Jazz, Twilight Zone, or Blaze; 10%
Prairie Sandreed Native; Goshen or Pronghorn; 10%
Switchgrass Native; Blackwell or Greenville; 10%
Wheatgrass, Western Native; Arriba or Barton; 20%
Yellow Indiangrass Native; Cheyenne, Holt, or Llano; 10%