growing grass from seed

Asked April 2, 2018, 4:33 PM EDT

I have a 2800 sq foot area at a south Denver area church where the soil is bare after construction. I want to seed a lawn in this soil. Pop-up irrigation heads are installed. My questions:

What type of drought resistant grass seed do you recommend?

Should I cover the seed with straw or is "jute erosion control cloth" better?

While the soil has been in place for many years, there has been soil compaction due to the construction activities of our remodeling. Should I spread a top soil or "planter's mix" soil over the existing soil before seeding?

If I seed in May, 2018, and irrigate properly, when can I expect the lawn to be relatively full?

Denver County Colorado

1 Response

Here are the basics on renovating a lawn from the Turf experts at CSU. Some of the information on killing off the grass is not applicable to your situation, but the information starting with the bare ground stage is all the same.

The truly drought tolerant grasses in Colorado are the natives used for lawns: buffalo grass and blue grama grass. These two grasses form more clumps than a solid surface, and do need weed control each year, so you have to be committed to maintenance and a different-looking turf area, which is green a shorter time than traditional turf grasses. These grasses are becoming quite popular due to our low moisture summers and winters. They are considered warm-season grasses, and are planted only in the summer.

Of the cool-season grasses, which are planted in the spring or fall during cool weather, there are some that are more drought-tolerant than others. "Reveille" is a hybrid of Kentucky bluegrass and Texas bluegrass that requires lower irrigation and is drought tolerant. Other mixes that you can buy in garden centers, such as "Front Range Classic," "Colorado's Own" and others, combine various grasses that are less thirsty in the mix to provide a blend that will respond to varying conditions.

Covering the seed with straw is fine, as long as there are no high winds and the seed is irrigated according to the first attachment.

Definitely roto-till the soil in the areas of compaction, otherwise the roots will not be able to penetrate a possible hardpan layer created by construction equipment.

If you plant a warm-season grass, it takes a year to truly establish. Cool-season grasses take until fall to be established.

Good luck!