As I mentioned in my first post, the most abundant plant used in Colorado landscaping is Kentucky bluegrass, or Pro pratensis (Xeriscape turf & alternatives n.d.). Kentucky bluegrass was introduced from Europe and requires supplemental watering and chemical fertilizers in order to survive the hot, dry Denver summers (Reid & Oki 2008).
Many native Rocky Mountain grasses are great alternatives to turf and are extremely drought resistant, like blue grama or buffalo grass. However, few native grasses provide the turf mat and bright green color that we’ve come to expect from Kentucky bluegrass lawns. It’s difficult to play frisbee with your dogs or kids while dodging tufts of native grass, and most don’t stand up to dog urine.
Dog Tuff ™ in Action: I helped my parents transform their backyard into a drought tolerant, dog friendly oasis two summers ago using this Cynodon grass derived from African varieties. While African Dog Tuff ™ is not native to the CO region, it offers many of the same benefits with the added bonus of standing up to wear and tear (i.e. backyard volleyball or a pack of adorable puppies). Plus honeybees love the pollen!
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Reid, S., & Oki, L. (2008). Field trials identify more native plants suited to urban landscaping. California agriculture, 62(3), 97-104. Retrieved from http://www.lib.muohio.edu/
Xeriscape turf & alternatives. (n.d.). Colorado State University. Retrieved from http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1912.html