Best high-traffic grass

Asked March 18, 2013, 12:39 AM EDT

Hi! I have 3 dogs and a large yard with just dirt in it right now. I can't wait another summer without grass. What do you recommend for grass that requires high traffic resistance and could be planted in the spring? We would like to plant from seed, if possible. Also, what is your recommendation regarding sprinkler systems? Are they a convenience only? Thanks!

Denver County Colorado lawns and turf horticulture

1 Response

Your best grass choices are turf-type tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass.

Turf-type tall fescue is pretty foot traffic-tolerant BUT if it is worn down drastically from constant dog foot traffic it must be sown again from seed. KY Bluegrass is also tolerant of foot traffic. There are several KY bluegrass varieties that have better/increased foot traffic tolerance.
Either turf-type tall fescue or KY Bluegrass must be intensely managed to promote the growth that allows recovery from heavy foot traffic. If you have 3 big active dogs this will become a major effort..... You'll need to become a "sports turf manager" as if you were maintaining the grass for a soccer or football field.
The areas along a fenceline or wherever dog foot tafffic is repetetive will need the most intense management - watering, mowing, fertilizing, core aerating and overseeding more frequently than a "typical" home lawn. Another consideration is that you may want to establish seed in half that yard and fence off the dogs from that area, then later let them have access to that area while you establish seed in the other half of the yard.
To manage your lawn intensely because of the foot traffic pressure it will receive - you would be much better off to have an automatic sprinkler system.

See also: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07202.html

http://cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/561.pdf

http://csuturf.colostate.edu/pdffiles/Master%20Gardener/CSU%20TurfNotes/seed%20sod%20sources_TurfNot...

http://cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/562.pdf

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07239.html