What is slow growth grass that dimishes weeds and thistles in high altitude?

Asked May 28, 2017, 11:35 PM EDT

My friend heard about a high altitude grass seed that is available. The grass remains short enough that mowing isn't necessary and the grass also discourages weeds and thistles from growing. Can you help me out with identifying what kind of grass this is and where I can purchase seeds?

Jefferson County Colorado

1 Response

Your friend may be talking about "Fine Fescue" grass. It does well at high altitude. Here is an excerpt from the Turfgrass Selection Guidelines http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/Gardennotes/561.pdf that lists the characteristics of this group of grass species:

Fine Fescues (Festuca spp.)
    • Quick germination (but matures slowly).
    • Fine leaf texture
    • High leaf density
    • Prefers low nitrogen fertility
    • Tolerates poor (rocky, sandy, clay) soil conditions
    • Drought resistant (but will go dormant)
    • Moderate salt tolerance (6-10 mmhos/cm)
    • Very good shade tolerance
    • Very cold tolerant
    • EXCELLENT high elevation/mountain grass
    • Moderate wear tolerance (NOT for high traffic areas)
    • Slow to recuperate from traffic injury
    • Can become thatch
    • May be difficult to mow (lays down; "tough" leaves)
    • May go dormant during extended (1-2 weeks) heat (90s +)
    • Susceptible to red thread, leaf spot, and dollar spot
Suggested Seeding Rate: five pounds per 1,000 square feet
Fine Fescue seed mixes can be found at any garden center.

The ability of a grass to crowd out weeds is more a function of lawn care than the species of grass planted. Proper watering, fertilization and aeration will help maintain a thick growth, which will crowd out the weeds.

Best regards,