High altitude grass

Asked August 1, 2017, 2:23 PM EDT

I live at 10,300 ft and want to plant grass. I have large dogs that will traffic this area also. What should I plant and when? Also, is there anything that will grow under spruce and pine trees? When should I plant wildflower seeds at this altitude?

Park County Colorado

1 Response

Hi- Grass won't grow successfully under trees. Look at the forest, very little grass grows beneath the conifers.

Outside the canopy of the trees you could seed --June 1-20 is really our ideal planting time for the summer. You could also plant now (consider a fall planting) and hope that the flowers or grass come up next spring. Fall planting are usually less successful, but if you missed the "spring planting", this is obviously better than nothing.

Also grass and wildflower recommendations:

Grasses: Orchard grass, Mountain Brome grasses, Crested Wheatgrass, Prairie June Grass, Slender Wheat grass, Streambank, Blue Wild Rye, Sandberg Bluegrass, Blue Grama--- are all excellent choices and grow well here.

Wildflowers: Coneflower, Columbine, Blackeye Susan, Purple Poppy Mallow, Rocky Mountain Penstamen- are all excellent perennial wildflowers that grow well here. Annuals like pansy and petunias grow well here until if frosts and will need to be planted each year, but many of our colorful baskets have these in them as the colors are very vibrant.

Finding a seed mix can be tricky. Remember to always buy the best qualify seed (higer than 94% germination for the larger percentages of your mix, ie: 30% Orchard grass, 30% Slender grass, 30% Prairie June Grass and 10% Wild Rye. would be an example of mix. Look at the label to make sure the germination of those seeds are above 94%. This is about the quality. Higher quality seeds will always cost more.

I hope this gets you started. For more information go to: www.extension.colostate.edu and search for Fact Sheets on Mountain gardening or Mountain grasses, etc. You will find a wealth of information there.