growing a lawn
I live in McGill Nevada, hot summers, cold winters, elevation about 6500. I would like to grow a lawn, but neighbors have told me it is nearly impossible to get grass to grow. I suspect the smelter in town for 80 years may have something to do with it, but a variety of weeds seem to grow very well. Can you suggest a hardy grass that might grown in my town? as well as proper soil preparation and fertilization?
White Pine County Nevada
Thank you for this question. From what I can see of the environment of McGill depending on where your home is situated you should be able to grow a cool-season grass as long as the critters are excluded and there is adequate moisture provided. The most common grasses will be cool-season and a thin fescue mix would be the best. If it has come Kentucky Blue that would be fine.
I have included a few factsheets from Utah and Colorado to help guide you assistance in the process. Utah has similar soils and if possible the best thing to add is compost or composted manure to the soil prior to planting.
I am assuming that you are going to seed the area as I do not believe sod is readily available. I have attached a calendar from Utah for timing you will need to adjust it by about a month forward depending on how cold the area is that you live in. I am mainly providing you with Utah because at this time most of the Nevada factsheets are not available.
Steps to help you have success will be to make sure you have a fence that will exclude cottontails, jackrabbit, and deer from your yard. Then if possible put in an irrigation system that can be placed on a timer. If it is a small area hose-end units can work. Grass seed is very delicate and needs to be kept moist but not saturated. Depending on spring / early summer weather conditions this may mean watering every hour of the day for a couple of minutes to ensure the seedlings do not dry out. Good luck.
Please let me know if you have further questions. You can reply to this answer. http://cwel.usu.edu/files/northern-utah-turfgrass-management-calendar.pdf