Choose a grass that’s a natural for her area. These grasses can live top top rainfall alone in their aboriginal Western ranges, and they require mowing just once or twice a year to save tidy. Details and also sources below.

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Desert: fine fescue, spring-planted buffalo grass, or blue grama.

Northern California and the Northwest: good fescue and also hair grass (Deschampsia).

Rocky Mountain: Buffalo grass or blue grama listed below 6,500 feet; well fescue above. Plant all in spring.

Southern California: well fescue, spring-planted ‘UC Verde’ buffalo grass (along coast).


Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis). Native to the western an excellent Plains. A bunching perennial grass, it grow 1 to 2 feet tall and also 1 foot wide. Stems bring flowers ~ above one next only. Provide it complete sun, tiny water. Finest in climate zones 1–3, 7–11, 14, 18–21.

‘Hachita’ Goes well with natives and also perennials; if you don’t mow it, the can come to be an synthetic short-grass prairie.

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides). Aboriginal from Montana come Mexico and east to Louisiana. Grows 4 come 8 inch tall; has actually gray-green color in summer, straw color in winter. Turf ranges are selected because that density and greener color.

Female selections (always vegetatively propagated) have actually flowers in ~ the base, so you don’t see them. Masculine plants have actually flowers top top top, therefore they watch ratty come some, attractive to others.


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Add a 3-inch class of clean, weed-free topsoil; rake smooth. Or germinate weeds beforehand and also dig in compost.

When you begin this from seed, it constantly contains a mix of male and also female plants. Offer it complete sun or open up shade, some summer water (gets summer rain in the wild). A great garden show in area 1–3, 10–11, 14–16, 18–24.

‘Prestige’ Good in mild-winter areas.

‘UC Verde’ Developed by the college of California, this doesn’t go dormant along the southerly California coast and in gentle areas, but inland (Riverside, for example), its dormant season stretches from October come March.

FESCUEThere room several develops of fescue, including Arizona fescue, California fescue, and native west fescue; part are offered by indigenous turf specialists. The most commonly easily accessible fescues are listed below. One, chewings fescue, is a close europe cousin of a indigenous western fescue. Friend may also find tough fescue and sheep’s fescue, both of i m sorry are used as grassland grasses in the West.

Creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra). aboriginal from Canada to Mexico ~ above the West Coast, Canada to Georgia on the eastern Coast, Europe, and North Africa. Grow to 3 feet tall together a grassland grass, or have the right to be mowed for usage as a turf grass. It’s many drought tolerant as soon as young; together it ages, thatch renders it much less so (dethatching corrects the problem). Offer it full sun or partial shade, little to middle water. Particle only. Does fine in zones A2, A3, 1–10, 14–24.

Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra commutata). aboriginal to Europe, this grass tends to come in more densely 보다 creeping red fescue. Grow 3 feet tall as a meadow grass, or deserve to be mowed for usage as a turf grass. Give it full sun or partial shade, small to middle water. Seeds only. Does well in area A2, A3, 1–10, 14–24.


Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa). aboriginal from Alaska and Canada south to northern California top top the West Coast and also North Carolina on the east Coast; also Eurasia and also Greenland. Grows 1 come 2 feet tall and also 2 feet wide, and produces clumps of dark green leaves. Airy inflorescences, which show up in late spring or summer, begin green and also fade to straw color; they deserve to reach 4 feet. Offer it full sun or partial shade, continual water (it can flourish in damp meadows). A an excellent meadow grass in area 2–24.

Pacific hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa holciformis). indigenous from brother Columbia to Monterey Bay. Grows 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide, and produces clumps of an extremely dark environment-friendly leaves. Inflorescences are narrow, coarse, and straw-colored. Provide it complete sun or partial shade, tiny to abundant water (it can take marshy or brackish locations). Finest garden topic in zones 4–9, 14–24.

WEED CONTROLMeadow grasses generally flourish slowly and also never get very big. That provides weeds an opening, therefore weed manage is the biggest challenge in establishing a meadow. There space several methods to go about it.

Sod If you plant meadow-grass sod, it will smother weeds below.


Topsoil Turf consultant Fred Ballerini prepares his site, then covers the with about 3 customs of clean (weed-free) topsoil prior to planting plugs. He no till the topsoil in, due to the fact that that would just carry weed seeds to the top.

Pregermination friend can get rid of lots that weeds by preparing the site, then watering and also waiting a couple of weeks. Weeds will quickly spring up. Once they’re a pair of inches tall, till lock in or hoe lock off, then repeat the process. ~ the 2nd round, plant her grass plugs. You’ll still obtain a few weeds, yet not almost as many.

Preemergence herbicide Corn gluten is a an excellent preemergence herbicide the feeds the new plugs (it’s about 10 percent nitrogen) and also inhibits the expansion of sprouted weed seeds. It’s a natural product (a byproduct the the produce of cornstarch).

FEEDING and also WATERINGMost kinds carry out fine through 2 pounds of yes, really nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually, and about fifty percent the water of a typical lawn.

Sources: aboriginal plant nurseries; High nation Gardens because that buffalo grass and also blue grama plugs. Part sod dealers sell sod of blue grama and buffalo grass.

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Design: Michelle Comeau landscape Design, Carmel, CA (831/620-0111) for Eric and also Greta Miller, Pacific Grove, CA; turf consultant Fred Ballerini.