When to plant blue gramma grass

Asked February 17, 2016, 11:02 AM EST

We are converting part of our old lawn (probably part Kentucky blue and part buffalo) to blue gramma. We would like planting timing and directions for our location in Littleton, CO. Also, is there a "best" type of blue gramma for our area, and where is the best place to purchase this seed? Thank you!

Arapahoe County Colorado lawns and turf horticulture

5 Responses

You'll want to kill the existing bluegrass once it greens up using glyphosate/Roundup herbicide. The buffalograss won't green up until May, then it can be killed with glyphosate. Don't assume that the new blue grama will "crowd out" the grasses currently growing on this site. Once the area is "clean" you can rake off and dispose of dead grass, exposing soil underneath.

Sow blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis, the State Grass of Colorado) at 3 lbs/1000 sq ft, either by slit-seeding, hydroseeding (some lawn services can do this) or with a drop spreader. If you use a drop spreader, you'll need to cover seed with about 1/4 inch of topsoil. Sow after the area is free of bluegrass/buffalograss, but before July 15.

Use either plain blue grama seed, or purchase one or a blend of varieties: Alma, Hachita or Lovington. Of these, Alma may be the best for turfgrass use. Blue grama seed is expensive and "chaffy". Local garden centers often carry plain blue grama seed. Some grass seed companies that may carry blue grama varieties: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/Gardennotes/566.html

More info on advantages and disadvantages of blue grama: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/Gardennotes/561.html

Thank you very much, Mr. Cox.

We sprayed Roundup last fall, but we won't know if everything is dead until this spring. We will spray again if any grass or weeds begin to grow.

My husband and I are having a disagreement over what you mean by "exposing the soil underneath," in the following sentence. "Once the area is "clean" you can rake off and dispose of dead grass, exposing soil underneath.

I think it means all the old turf has been completely removed, and we are sowing seed on top of the soil that was underneath it. He thinks we can rake the old dead turf until some soil is exposed, then sow the seed on that soil/scrubby surface. Then, top with 1/4 inch top soil. Will you please clarify for us?

Thank you again!

You'll be able to rake off the old dead turf to expose some soil (maybe 50% visible?), then sow seed on the soil/scrubby surface. Let's go with 3.5 lbs/1000 sq ft. (equal to 5.5 oz/100 sq ft). Cover seeded area with 1/4 inch topsoil. Then, to better ensure good soil-seed contact, roll the seeded area with a sod roller; fill sod roller only 1/3 - 1/2 full of water. Remember, blue grama is a bunchgrass - doesn't spread - so you want to get most of the seeds sown to germinate.

Mr. Cox:

Thank you! Your answer was very clear and we will follow your directions. It is so great to have an expert from the CSU extension to help us with this project! Thanks again!

Carol & Randy Johnson

Ms. Johnson,

My pleasure....Good luck