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Questions & Answers
Lawns

This page contains questions (edited) we have received from our viewers along with our responses.  
We thought you might find this information helpful.   

Q:

   A question concerning dogs and grass:  Our problem is not so much dog urine but the fact that our dog does so much running, tearing up the yard-he loves a good game of fetch.  Can you recommend a "durable" grass that can withstand his activity?  M. H., Arvada, 1/27/12

A:    For information on choosing a durable grass please see www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/561.pdf. The article points out kinds of grass that can tolerate wear and/or recuperate well.

Q:

   Our grass had a virus last year.  We have had it overseeded this spring, BUT, there is a lot of broad leaf grass in it.  How do I get rid of it?  B. H., Pueblo, 5/12/11

A:    For information on grassy weeds in lawns please see www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/03101.html.
 
Q:    What kind of grass can be grown in Colorado that will hold up to dogs?  I find it hard to believe that there is not a lawn grass that will not turn yellow from dog urine. Please help this garden and dog lover!  P. P., Parker, 8/9/09
A:
   I'm sorry, but I don't know of any type of grass that tolerates dog urine well.  Fescue lawns are less sensitive than Kentucky bluegrass, but they still get damage.  Some people try to train their dog to go in one area of the yard.  Watering the area where the dog goes within a few hours can help minimize damage by diluting the urine.  This is a very common problem that lots of us just learn to accept because we love our dog!
 
Q:    We live in Colorado Springs, and each year, our lawn gets progressively worse, despite watering , aerating and fertilizing. My neighbors think the aspen tree we have is sucking up all the moisture but I see plenty of lawn with even larger Aspens that do not have that problem. I think it is fungal in nature. What should I use?  A. B., Colorado Springs, 5/12/09
A:
   Because there is an aspen tree in the lawn you will need to provide additional water and fertilizer for the lawn.  If the lawn has a fungus you will see symptoms such as dead areas with green grass in the center or serpentine dead areas.  There are lawn fungicides available to spray on the turf.  Look for them in the garden section of Lowe's and Home Depot or at garden centers.
 
Q:    I just planted a new lawn with seeds in the middle of March and it is now growing, but where the grass is is elm trees. Every year we get those pesky weeds that grow under elm trees. How can I get rid of these weeds now before they choke out my new grass?  S., Pueblo, 4/21/08
A:
   It is too soon to apply weed killer to a recently seeded new lawn.  You should not apply a weed killer until the lawn has been mowed 4 or 5 times.  At that time you can use a weed killer for broadleaf weeds in turf.  Once the lawn is established you can use pre-emergent weed killers that prevent weeds from growing.
 
Q:    We are about to plant grass in our yard and are wondering which type would be the best. We want the grass to be soft and full for the kids to play on, yet also don't want to have to water it like crazy. If you have any suggestions, we would really appreciate it!  J. A., Lakewood, 3/18/08
A:
   Which grass is the best depends on a number of factors.  Please see http://www.csuturf.colostate.edu/.  Click on "Home Lawn Care."  Click on "What is the best grass to plant in my new lawn?"  This link will take you to a list of several helpful articles on this topic.
 
Q:    I need to reseed the lawn.  What preparation is needed to reseed a lawn?  D. F., Littleton, 10/25/07
 
A:    For information on re-seeding a lawn, including preparation, please see www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07241.pdf.
 
Q:    Is it ok to lay sod at this time of year in Colorado?  S. F., Broomfield, 9/19/07
A:
   Yes, you can lay sod this time of year in Colorado.  Be sure to water it once or twice a month in winter when the ground isn't frozen. 
 
Q:    I am thinking of replacing my weed/grass front lawn with an "herbal" lawn.  I have been thinking of wooly thyme, but am open to suggestions.  It is now early Sept.  Can I still plant from seed in Colorado Springs?  Suggestions?  S., Colorado Springs, 9/3/07
A:    High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, NM, has information on thyme lawns including which kinds of thyme do well.  Please see http://www.highcountrygardens.com/.  Click on "Garden Articles."  Type "Planting and Maintaining a Thyme Lawn" in the Search Garden Articles box.  You can plant in fall, but spring is a better time to plant in Colorado due to dry spells in winter that desiccate plants.
 
Q:    In this area is it better to water each zone of your lawn 25 minutes at one time, or water it 5 minutes on each zone and then 5 minutes again and again and again?  C. C., Centennial, 6/29/07
A:    Because much of Colorado's soil is clay, applying a large quantity of water all at once usually results in runoff.  The soil simply can't absorb it fast enough.  Therefore, it is better to water each zone a shorter length of time and cycle through the zones about three times.
 
Q:    What do you know about using zoysia grass in Colorado?  J., Boulder, 6/19/07
 
A:    Zoysia grass is not recommended for Colorado yards.  A warm season grass, it does best in areas that have longer growing seasons and hotter night temperatures.
 
Q:    I've heard John Cretti say emphatically that we should not power rake lawns.  Can you give me more information on that?  G. F., Lone Tree, 3/31/07
A:
   The following is information on power raking from CSU Cooperative Extension.  Core aeration is now the preferred method for controlling thatch.
"Power Raking
This method of thatch removal has been used for years. Light (shallow) power raking may be beneficial if done often. Deep power raking of a thatchy lawn can be damaging, and often removes a substantial portion of the living turf. Used properly, power raking of wet, matted turf can speed spring green-up by letting air move into the root zone and warm the turf.  Compost the thatch and organic material to kill any living grass before it's used as a mulch or soil amendment.
Core Cultivation or Aerating
This is more beneficial than power raking. It helps improve the root zone by relieving soil compaction while controlling thatch accumulation. Soil compaction, in fact, is one factor that contributes to thatch buildup.

Aeration removes plugs of thatch and soil 2 to 3 inches long (the longer, the better) and deposits them on the lawn. A single aeration using a machine with 1/2-inch diameter tines removes about 10 percent of the thatch if enough passes are made to achieve an average 2-inch spacing between holes.

Disposing of the cores is a matter of personal choice. From a cultural perspective, there may be an advantage to allowing the cores to disintegrate and filter back down into the lawn. Mingling soil and thatch may hasten the natural decomposition of the thatch. The little fluffs of thatch and turf that remain can be collected and composted.

Depending on soil type, core disintegration may take a few days to several weeks. Irrigation helps wash the soil from the cores. Dragging a piece of cyclone fence or an old metal door mat can speed the process. Running over the cores with a rotary mower can be effective but can dull the blade. Many commercial companies that perform core cultivation break up the cores with a power rake. If the cores are removed from the lawn, compost them before using them as a mulch or soil amendment."


Q:    I would like to put in some tall fescue with seed.  Are there soil preparation directions and watering requirements available on your web site?  We live NE of Ft Collins where it is very dry and windy.  We need to replant our yard to the North.  Would this be the best kind of grass to plant?  Would it be best to plant in Sept/Oct?  K. F., Wellington, 8/17/06
A:    For information on seeding a yard please see http://www.csuturf.colostate.edu/.  Click on Home Lawn Care and follow the prompts.  You will find information on soil preparation and watering.

Q:    I have almost perfecting round yellow spots on my lawn.  I treated for grubs. It was ok for a few weeks. Now this perfectly round yellow circles of dead grass are appearing.  It looks like dog urine, but it is in the back also where no dogs go. I notice lots of really fast spiders on the driveway. Can they be related?    Also, mushrooms have appeared this year, I think from the cutting service.  Can this be related? Thanks, B. D., Lafayette, 6/8/06
A:
   From your description it sounds like the lawn has a disease, possibly Dollar Spot Disease.  For information on this please see www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02933.html.  The spiders are not related to this problem.  Mushrooms appear due to decaying organic matter in the soil.

Q:    Our homeowners' lawn was not power raked for 15 yrs. We had it done yesterday.  The contractor said he didn't want to take too much off because the water is not on yet and it would stress the lawn.  I can say we see green now among the brown grass; thatch IS less.  Is the contractor right or should we make him do more?  (Our mower person says it is not as much off as it needs). Thanks. M. C., Montrose, 3/21/06
A:    According to the turf experts at CSU, shallow power raking may be beneficial if done often.  Deep power raking can damage turf.  Core aeration, rather than power raking, is now the preferred method for controlling thatch.
 
Q:    We moved into a new development (Stapleton) last year.  Should we have our soil checked before we put in our grass?  It seems like pure clay and landscaping companies suggest only a little added soil before putting in the grass.  How about those little "jelly balls" which hold in the moisture?  What are they called, and do you suggest it?  The grass area will be ONLY 400sq. feet.  What kind of grass should we use?  Thank you.  B. K., Denver, 3/16/06
A:   Good soil preparation is essential for the establishment of a healthy, attractive lawn.  A soil test is highly recommended so you know exactly what type of soil you have and if it has any deficiencies that should be corrected.  The general recommendation is to improve soil before planting seed or laying sod by mixing 3 - 5 cubic yards of compost per 1000 sq. feet of lawn area.  Mix the compost into the soil to a depth of about 5 inches.  There is much debate about the use of polymers ("jelly balls") to hold moisture.  Turf experts at CSU don't recommend them.  For a traditional looking lawn you can use either Kentucky Blue Grass or Tall Fescue.
 
Q:    Today is October 24, 2005, and we just had our first freeze last night in NW Denver.  Is it too late to reseed bare areas of our lawn?  And, will buffalo grass grow under large pine trees?  Thanks!!  B. C., Denver, 10/24/05
A:     It is best to re-seed cool season lawns such as Kentucky Bluegrass between March and September, with mid-August to mid-September being the best time.  Avoid seeding after the first fall frost, as seedlings are likely to die during winter.  Buffalo grass does not perform well in the shade.  A groundcover would be a better choice below the pine trees.
 
Q:    When is the best time of year to overseed a fescue lawn? And what can I do to increase the chances that the fescue seed will grow?  J. B., Parker, 8/20/05
A:     Fescue is a cool season grass.  Therefore, spring and fall are the best times to overseed the lawn.  For information on renovating a lawn please see http://csuturf.colostate.edu/.  Click on Home Lawn Care.
 
Q:    Is there any safe way of removing mushrooms and/or toadstools in our yard?  They are in fairy rings and very difficult and not so attractive.  We read somewhere to put dry laundry detergent on them and the rings, but all that did was destroy the grass.  Mowing them doesn't seem to help either!  Any suggestions or solutions would be quite helpful!  Thanks!  K. G., Craig, 7/31/05
A:    Fairy ring is caused by fungi that live in the soil and thatch layer.  Soils stressed by low moisture and fertility tend to experience more problems.  Watering and fertilizing regularly may help.  Using a wetting agent like Revive may help the soil absorb water better.  Core aerate the lawn in spring and fall to control thatch buildup.  Using fungicides has limited benefit.
 
Q:   With the 90+ days our grass is dying.  We have tried to change the watering so it gets 20 minutes per day but it is not helping.  The back yard faces west and is in the sun from sun up to sun down.  We do not have any trees that give shade yet.  (The yard is 8 years old.)  What can we add to the yard to make is more drought resistant?  ( We have 2 large dogs and 2 kids.)  D. B., Broomfield, 7/12/05
A:    When you water the lawn, don't apply all the water at one time.  Instead, water each zone for 7 minutes and then again for another 7 minutes and then again for another 7 minutes.  By breaking up the watering session, more water will soak into the soil and there will be less runoff.  You may want to consider using Revive to increase water absorption.  Avoid over-fertilizing the lawn.  Lush growth requires more water.  Core aerating the lawn in fall and spring will reduce thatch and improve lawn health.

Q:    My parents live in Aurora, Colorado.  They have a grass fungus and are wondering how to take care of it natural.  Do you have any suggestions?  D. Houston, TX; 7/5/05
A:     Many turf diseases occur when a lawn is stressed - a likely factor due to the drought and watering restrictions in recent years.  Cultural control includes core aerating the lawn in spring and fall, watering in the morning so leaf blades dry off quickly, avoiding over-fertilization, and keeping mower blades sharp.  If necessary, a lawn fungicide can be applied.

Q:    I have a new home and want to seed a lawn.  I'm planning to use Kentucky Blue grass probably purchased at Home Depot.  Is mid to late June too late or early to seed the lawn?  Also should I cover the lawn with straw to help maintain moisture after seeding?  T. G., Greeley, 6/24/05
A:     Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool season lawn, meaning it grows during cool or warm weather.  Growth slows when weather is hot.  Late June, therefore, is not a good time to seed this type of lawn.  It would be better to wait until mid or late August or early September to seed it.  For tips on seeding a lawn please see the CSU turf website at http://csuturf.colostate.edu/.  Click on Home Lawn Care in the menu.

Q:    I recently purchased a house in Greenwood Village.  The previous owners didn't do a very good job maintaining the lawn, so I'll probably need to put a new one in the front yard and possibly the back.  What is the best time of year to do this?  T. B., Greenwood Village, 5/19/05
A:    The best time of year to install Kentucky Bluegrass or Tall Fescue is early spring or fall.  These are cool-season grasses that grow most actively in cooler weather.  A really helpful website that provides information on renovating a lawn is the CSU turf website at http://csuturf.colostate.edu/.  Click on Home Lawn Care.

Q:    I have recently purchased a new home (7.6 acres) in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  There is no lawn, period.  I have to get one started.  A local guy said that crested wheatgrass is the way to go: little water, sods up nice, no mowing, and it stays green.  I have been doing some research and like the way it sounds, but some others say it will be fine on the outer areas (plan on planting maybe an acre), but that I still will need a strain of bluegrass up close to the house.  Would you recommend upland, Canada, or annual for this area?  Also is crested the way to go?  T. G., Cheyenne, WY; 1/12/05
A:
   Colorado State University Turf Program has an informative website that can help you select the best types of turf for your property.  A low maintenance grass like crested wheatgrass would be good for outer areas.  If water is a concern, you may want to consider buffalograss.  (It is green only in warm weather.)  Close to the house you probably want a more formal type of lawn such as bluegrass or fescue.  The website lists the advantages and disadvantages of these and has lists of recommended varieties.
    To visit the site go to http://csuturf.colostate.edu and click on "Home Lawn Care."  Click on the middle box that says, "For information on starting a new lawn...."  Click on "Seeding a New Lawn."  Click on "Best Species and Varieties." 

Q:     I trimmed the edges of my lawn with a Weedeater, and about a month later the trimmed area turned brown and is dying.  Could it have been stressed from the trimming?  How can I restore the dead area?  P. K., Littleton, 7/20/04
A:     Trimming the edges of the lawn too short can cause them to turn brown.  Lawn edges dry out quickly and when they're trimmed too short they dry out even faster because the grass blades no longer shade the soil.  To restore the brown areas provide additional water to the edges.  These areas probably are dormant, not dead.  You might also consider using a product such as Revive if the soil is really dry and the water tends to run off.  Revive improves water absorption.

Q:    Could  you tell me where I could get grama grass seed?  Will it be good for a yard at 6900 ft.?  We want grass but nothing that needs a lot of care -- more natural for 6900 ft.  Do you recommend any thing else?  We're on Hi 69 near Gardner, Colo.  The yard has 2 kinds of grass that grow in clumps.  I think it's some kind of Brome grass.  Thank you.  C., Arvada, 6/3/04
A:   Blue grama grass is not adapted to elevations higher than 6000 feet.  Also, buffalograss isn't recommended for elevations greater than 6500 feet.  Choices that are cold tolerant include fine fescues, crested wheatgrass and smooth bromegrass.  A good supplier of seed is Arkansas Valley Seeds in Denver. 

Q:    What are the causes and cures for mushrooms growing on my blue-grass lawn?  Thanks for your assistance.  T. C., Windsor, 5/22/04
A:
   Mushroom fungi commonly live in the soil and thatch layer of lawns.  If you have rings of lush green grass with mushrooms growing in the ring bands, the condition is called fairy ring.  The fungi can create dead patches by building up a mycelial layer that prevents water from seeping through to the grass roots.
    To control mushrooms or fairy ring in turf you should water regularly, follow fertilization recommendations for blue grass lawns, and core aerate the lawn in spring and fall.  If water tends to run off, you may want to apply a wetting agent such as Revive.  A fungicide can be applied, but it will have only a limited effect.

Q:    My Boulder, CO, lawn needs reseeding.  I would like a drought resistant, hardy lawn.  I have a dog that is pretty rough on the lawn.  R. C., Boulder, 3/15/04
A:
   The most drought resistant lawn would be Buffalograss.  However, it doesn't do well in shade and doesn't tolerate traffic from pets very well.  Turf-type tall fescue is drought resistant when the soil permits deep rooting.  It tolerates traffic well.  A blend gives better results than use of a single variety.
    For information on reseeding a lawn please visit http://csuturf.colostate.edu.  Click on "Home Lawn Care."  Click on "Renovating an Existing Lawn."  Also, you might want to click on "Colorado seed companies" at the bottom of "Seeding a New Lawn" for a list of sources for quality seed.  These companies can make helpful recommendations.

Q:    My 25 year old bluegrass lawn has Melting Out Disease.  Can I replace this with new sod or is the fungus in the soil?  If so can the soil be treated?  Thank You.  L. C., Westminster, 2/23/04
A:    The spores or mycelium of the fungi that cause Melting Out Disease survive in all parts of the plant: roots, thatch, and leaf blades.  Before you install a new lawn you would be wise to treat the area with a fungicide.  Also when buying new sod or seed, you should select a cultivar that is resistant to this disease.  For a list of resistant cultivars, names of recommended fungicides and information on other steps to take to prevent or control Melting Out Disease, please visit the CSU Cooperative Extension website at www.ext.colostate.edu.  Click on Gardening. Click on Fact sheets.  Click on Diseases.  Click on # 2.909 "Leaf Spot and Melting Out Diseases."  You may also like to see the CSU Turfgrass site at http://csuturf.colostate.edu.

Q: I have 2 questions.
A. How late can I put down sod?  All sources say early Sept., but I won't be ready for two more weeks.  Do I have to wait until spring?
B. Can I plant crocus bulbs under bluegrass blend turf or is it too dense to let them come up?  C. S., Erie, 9/24/03
A:
  While seeding a lawn should be done by mid to late September, you can sod a lawn through late fall.  You would be wise to do it as soon as possible so the roots are well established before the ground freezes.  Because the sod will not be deeply rooted, you should continue to water the sod during fall, winter and early spring when the temperature is above freezing and the ground isn't frozen.  Try to water once or twice a month during this period.
  I believe you can plant crocus bulbs under bluegrass blend turf, although crocus bulbs are more commonly planted in buffalograss.  The bulbs should have no problem sprouting up through a new bluegrass lawn because a new lawn doesn't have a build-up of thatch yet.  Be sure to amend your soil before planting.  Bulbs require good drainage or they'll rot. 

Q:    What is best type fescue for lawns at 6400 feet?  L., Castle Rock, 9/20/03
A:    A turf-type tall fescue blend that is a combination of several turf-type tall fescue varieties is recommended.  Turf-type tall fescue is a cool-season grass, which means it grows most actively when temperatures are cool.  Therefore, it performs well at high elevations.

Q:    My question concerns refurbishing a bluegrass lawn in Lakewood. There are patches with weeds and not much grass. If we spray the weeds with a weed killer (not Round-up) how long do we need to wait before we can seed the areas? How late during the fall season can we overseed the lawn? My mother doesn't like Round-up so we will probably need to use another weed killer. I have been manually digging weeds out as well.  Where do you recommend we buy the blue grass seed? If we decide to wait until spring when is a good time to overseed the lawn?  Thanks for your assistance.  R. P., Lakewood, 9/12/03
A:
   Several types of weed killers for lawns are available.  Some kill only broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions.  Others kill only grassy weeds, such as crabgrass.  A third type kills both broadleaf and selected grassy weeds.  It sounds like this is the type you need.  Bayer Advanced Lawn All-in-One Weed Killer for Lawns is an example of a product formulated to kill both types of weeds.  Round-up is an example of a fourth type of weed killer.  It is non-selective, which means it would kill both the bluegrass as well as the weeds.
    The time you need to wait between spraying for weeds and overseeding the lawn depends on the product you use.  Therefore, you should be sure to check the label.  The Bayer Advanced Lawn Weed Killer requires that you wait 3 to 4 weeks.  This period will be longer if you have to do a repeat application of weed killer.
    The best time to seed a bluegrass lawn is late August to late September.  If you wait until spring, April or early May would be a good time to overseed.
    Grass seed is available at garden centers and home improvement stores (Lowe's, Home Depot).  Also, there are seed companies that sell it.

Q:    Will "Dwarf Mondo" turf work in the Denver area?  I saw an article on it on 850 KOA radio's web site.  M. W., Denver, 4/21/03
A:    Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) is not hardy here.  A close relative known commonly as Lily Turf (Liriope spicata) is a groundcover that can be used in Denver.  It does not tolerate foot traffic.  In the right situations it is a good alternative to a mowed lawn.  It is drought tolerant.

Q:    A friend of mine suggested that I put powered laundry detergent on my lawn to loosen up the soil.  I live near Chatfield Res. in southwest Littleton. The idea sounds crazy.  What do you think?  R. Z., Littleton, 4/24/03
A:    I strongly recommend that you do not put laundry detergent on your lawn to loosen up the soil.  This product could easily damage the turf, which is already stressed by drought.  Detergents can break down the waxy coating on the leaf blades, making them more susceptible to insects and diseases.  Also, this coating helps the leaves to retain moisture.  If the soil has become so dried out and compacted that water runs off instead of soaking into it there are wetting agents specifically developed for use on turf that can help.  "Revive" is one of the wetting agents that is readily available at garden centers. 

Q:    What is zoysia grass? Is it viable in the Denver area climate?  K., Englewood, 3/17/03
A:    Zoysia grass is a warm season grass that is not recommended for Colorado lawns.  Due to our climate, Zoysia is difficult to establish here.  Also, its hardiness is questionable and some winter die-back is likely.

Q:    I live in Englewood, CO, and am preparing to install a sprinkler system. (I have no lawn, just dirt at the moment).  What type of drought resistant grass would you recommend?  I've been told Buffalo Grass is my best bet, but wanted a second opinion.  Also, I have 2 dogs.  Can I still start my lawn from seed?  K., Englewood, 3/11/03
A:    I strongly encourage you to check with your local water department about existing and likely spring/summer watering restrictions.  Some communities may not allow new landscaping to be installed or may allow only specific elements to be installed.  You'll want to be sure you will be able to water sufficiently anything you plant.  Even Xeriscape plants need regular watering for the first two growing seasons.
       Buffalograss requires very little water and is a good choice because of its drought tolerance.  It is a warm-season grass that greens up later in spring and turns brown earlier in fall than Kentucky bluegrass.  It doesn't have the lush appearance of Kentucky bluegrass, and some people do not care for its appearance for city and suburban settings.  Several improved varieties are on the market.  You might want to look at samples before investing in seed, plugs or sod.  It requires a site with lots of sun, tolerates some traffic and only occasionally needs mowing.
       If Buffalograss doesn't suit your situation, consider using tall fescue.  When soil conditions allow it to grow deep roots, it can require less water than Kentucky bluegrass.  It will tolerate shade and traffic well.
       If you seed the lawn, for best results you should keep the dogs off the newly seeded area for a few weeks while the seeds germinate and the lawn becomes established.

Q:    I have read great things about Tatanka Buffalo grass.  I have 1 acre outside of Fort Collins I want to seed.  Where can I purchase this fairly new turf-type buffalo grass seed?  S. J., Fort Collins, 2/15/03
A:    I have found three places that sell Tatanka Buffalograss:
       Johnston Seed Company
       P.O. Box 1392
       Enid, OK 73702
       800-375-4613

       Arrow Seed Company
       P.O. Box 722
       Broken Bow, NE 68822
       800-622-4727

       Stock Seed Company
       28008 Mill Rd.
       Murdock, NE 68408-2350
       800-759-1520

Q:   I have always heard that it is good to leave your leaves on your grass to decompose.  However, someone today told me that the leaves can actually suck the nitrogen out of the grass, therefore, killing it.  Is this true?  I recently raked my leaves and put them all over my backyard to help my grass.  But if it is going to hurt it, I will bag them this weekend.  Thank you for your help!  S. O., Broomfield, 11/8/02
A:   Using leaves as a mulch on your lawn can create problems.  When the leaves become wet, they can become compacted and smother the turf by limiting air flow.  Windy weather will scatter them all over.  If piled up, they may harbor rodents.  Some of the nitrogen in the soil that the leaves are in contact with will be used as the leaves decompose, possibly creating nitrogen deficiency.  (This condition can be corrected by fertilizing the lawn in spring.).  Due to the possible problems the leaves may create, I recommend that you rake them up.  They can be composted and used to improve the soil, if you wish.  (If it was as windy in Broomfield as it was here today, the leaves are probably gone!)

Q:   We have been planning on planting buffalo grass sod in our yard in Erie this summer.  Given the potential watering restrictions, I am trying to get some information on how much watering the buffalo grass sod will really require to get it established.  (How many days per week for how long?)  And then, once it is established, how much will it need?  I am okay with letting it go dormant if necessary, but I want to be sure I don't kill it to the point where it won't come back next year. 
  Also, if we were to wait a bit to plant it, what is the latest we could plant it and have it do okay?  Can we still plant it in September, for instance?  Is it a problem to plant it after it would naturally go dormant? 
  We are basically pretty anxious to get something covering the dirt because we have a dog who is bringing in dirt and mud every time it rains even a tiny bit!  So, I'm fine with the grass being brown this year, but I just want to be sure we can do enough to make sure we don't kill it.  Any advice you can lend would be greatly appreciated.  K. F., Erie, 6/3/02
A:   Buffalo grass is a warm-season grass that grows actively from May until fall.  While sod can be planted from late May through August, it is best to plant it in late May or early June so that it can become well established prior to cool fall and winter weather that cause it to go dormant.
  Some varieties grown as sod that perform well in yards are '609,' '315,' and '378.'  Be sure to prepare the soil by clearing all weeds with an herbicide such as "Roundup."  Till the soil and work in a starter fertilizer, using one pound of phosphorus and one pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. feet. 
  According to a fact sheet on buffalo grass published by the Nebraska Cooperative Extension service, newly planted buffalo grass sod should be watered every other day for the first week, every third day the second week and once a week the third through fifth weeks.  The goal is to keep the soil slightly moist, not saturated, while the roots get established.  Water should not be allowed to puddle or run off.  On hot days a light watering of .125 inch or less applied mid-day will cool the turf and prevent wilt.  The sod may have an off-color appearance during the first few weeks.
  Right now Erie's watering restrictions are voluntary.  If you have concerns that this policy could change soon, please contact the town to see what they advise about going ahead with sodding buffalo grass at this time.

Q:    Is it difficult to introduce Blue Grama grass seeds in an established lawn?  P. H., Lakewood, 3/27/02
A:    It is difficult to renovate a lawn by introducing a type of grass that is different from the existing lawn.  Often one is more aggressive than the other and takes over.  Also, their water and fertilization needs may not match. 

Q:    Where can I find Blue grama grass seed?  P. H., Lakewood, 3/26/02
A:    Arkansas Valley Seeds as 4625 Colorado Blvd. in Denver carries Blue grama grass seed.  They carry recommended varieties such as Hachita, Lovington and native varieties.  Their phone number is 303-320-7500.

Q:   I have a question about crabgrass.  I've heard people say that the best way to get rid of it is to just pull it up.  I have so much ( that has crept over from a negligent neighbor's yard) that I don't have the time or inclination to do that.  Is there a spray or something I can use?  N. B., Denver, 7/13/01  
A:   There are several ways to deal with crabgrass.  Crabgrass grows from seeds that were deposited the previous fall.  In springtime you can use a "pre-emergent" herbicide to prevent seeds from germinating -- something to consider for next year.  At this time of year you will need to spray a "post-emergent" herbicide that is labeled as a crabgrass killer.  Any place that carries garden products will probably have some in stock as this is a common lawn problem.  Some products may temporarily discolor the lawn.  Depending on the outcome, you may need to repeat the treatment.  Be sure to water the lawn thoroughly the day before treatment.  Cloudy, cool weather may decrease the effectiveness of sprays so check the weather forecast before spraying.  Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Q:   After heavy rains, I see a lot of toadstools and/or mushrooms growing in my lawn.  How do I get rid of them without hurting my lawn or pets?  K.C., Aurora, 6/4/01
A:   Two safe remedies for mushrooms in the lawn are core aeration of the lawn and mowing or removing them with a rake.  

Q: Question:
   I laid a small section of sod last year.  This year there are places that have died.  Can I plant seed there now?  What can I do to help replenish this grass?  Thank you!  P. J., Boulder, 5/30/01
A:    To replenish the grass you should cut or dig out the dead thatch.  Till the soil.  Add some compost or organic matter and till it in.  Then lay new sod pieces or seed the areas.  Keep the areas moist, but not soaking wet, until the grass begins to be established.

Q:   My small backyard has been destroyed by a new septic system.  I am not supposed to water, as the entire yard has been taken up by the system.  I need to plant grass as soon as possible, but need something that will be fast growing so that I do not lose the dirt and that will not require much water.  Can you help me choose a grass that will fit these requirements? K. B., Arvada, 2/12/01
A:   Given the situation you have described, planting grass presents some problems.  Keep in mind that whatever you plant will need to be kept moist at first until the roots are established.  You can reduce the frequency of watering after a few weeks.   The most popular lawns are cool-season turf such as Kentucky Blue Grass and Tall Fescue.  They can be planted in early spring since they grow best when the weather is cool.  However, they require a substantial amount of water throughout the year and therefore are not a good choice for you.  Instead, you should consider using Buffalograss, a short native grass that requires little to no water.  One disadvantage: it is a warm-season grass that turns green and grows actively only when the weather is warm in late spring and summer.  It is brown the rest of the year.  It grows best in a sunny location. You can plant seed April through June or lay sod from late May into August.  Even though you would need to wait a bit longer before planting it, I think it would be an appropriate choice in your situation. Recommended varieties include # 609, Prairie, Sharp's II, Cody and Plains. An added advantage is that it doesn't require much mowing.  

Q:    Can you recommend a good grass seed?  Thanks!  S. K. J., Evergreen, 8/31/00  
A:    I'm not sure what type of grass you prefer.  If you want a Kentucky bluegrass lawn use seed that is a blend of 2 to 5 Kentucky bluegrass cultivars.  The end of August is a bit late to sow a lawn at higher elevations. 

 
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