Alternative turf grass: African Dog Tuff ™

grass plugs

African dog tuff grass plugs right after planting on June 14th, 2015

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.

What is a water conscious homeowner to do? African Dog Tuff ™ to the rescue!

grass w dog

Truly dog tough by August 2016

grass w straw

Straw mulch over new plugs

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!

rose and grass

Dog Tuff filling in behind roses, October 4th 2015

Check out Plant Select’s site for more information about this grass, or contact me and I can help you figure out how to incorporate this awesome alternative turf in your own yard.

Please help me collect data! Take a minute or two to share your experiences with turf grass and alternative landscaping in this quick survey ! All responses are anonymous but you will be able to see what other people have said once you submit your answers.


Reid, S., & Oki, L. (2008). Field trials identify more native plants suited to urban landscaping. California agriculture, 62(3), 97-104. Retrieved from

Xeriscape turf & alternatives. (n.d.). Colorado State University. Retrieved from


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