Caring for Established Sod
How To Grow Grass In Colorado
Most Colorado lawns use grasses that have been bred to thrive in colder climates. We find Kentucky Bluegrass to be one of the best options. It is also the most popular, covering a vast majority of the turf that we install. We also recommend considering Tall Fescue as we have found this variety to be just as hardy and durable, standing up to even the worst Colorado winters. Both Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue varieties have an April-October growing season and produce a lush green lawn as they are both warm-season grass and cool-season grass. We also recommend planning a sprinkler system as part of your lawn or landscape layout. It is the most efficient way to maintain a sod lawn in a typical Colorado annual climate.
Watering New Grass
To best understand the supplemental water required by Bluegrass, it helps to understand the growth cycle. Bluegrass will green up in the spring and will naturally slow and turn a lighter color in the peak heat of summer. The Bluegrass will green up again in the fall with the moisture and then will go dormant as winter approaches. The primary growth periods are early spring as it is coming out of winter dormancy and in the fall as it prepares for winter. These periods are the most important for watering and nutrients as they will help the plant to remain viable and healthy.
Whether you want your sod to green up sooner or stay green until winter, Bluegrass is adaptable to just about any consumer requirements by the additional reduction of water, fertilizer, and mowing. The amount of supplemental water may vary as current weather conditions change.
Fescue is a turf grass that greens up in the spring between April-June and goes dormant during winter between Nov-March. The primary growth periods are early spring as it comes out of dormancy and fall as it begins to prepare for winter. The waxy coating of Fescue preserves moisture in the leaf which results in superior drought tolerance. Depending on the amount of shade on your Fescue or how much sand content is in your soil will help determine how much water. If you have a shadier area the Fescue will not need as much water. If you have heavy sand content or alkaline clay soil, it is possible that you may need more than 1 inch per week for your grass seedlings.
DETERMINE WATER USAGE
A simple method to determine whether or not your sod needs watering is to observe the dehydration signs given by the grass. These include:
Grass has a purplish tint
Grass blades turn steel gray and footprints are left when walked on
Grass blades turn straw color
The amount of water can be measured by rain gauges, setting out cans on the lawn area that is covered by sprinklers, or by understanding the application rates of the sprinkler system. Some will set their automatic sprinkler clocks but don't change them depending on climatic changes. This result is the most wasteful water management.
BEST IRRIGATION PRACTICES
Colorado having more of a dry climate helps to prevent plant-based diseases affecting your sod to thrive. This means that no matter what time of day you water you will not put your lawn at considerable risk of developing harmful molds or fungi. However, the best time to water any lawn is late in the evening after sunset or early morning before sunrise. The cooler temperatures and higher humidity help retain more of the water in the lawn with less evaporation and less total water usage.
FERTILIZING COOL SEASON GRASSES
Fertilizing 4-5 times a year with Graff's Turf proprietary blend is best. Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Halloween are the easiest times to remember to fertilize. Use a complete turf-grade fertilizer with an analysis of 20-20-10-3F. Make sure to sweep or blow all fertilizer off your sidewalks and other rock areas as the iron in the fertilizer will permanently stain cement and rock. Make sure to water the fertilizer thoroughly.
When moving, you don't want to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at one time. Nor do you want to remove more than ¾ inch of grass at any single time. Use sharp blades and mow in the cool of the day to help reduce plant stress. If you are mowing at proper intervals you can leave the clippings to mulch back in the soil, which can recycle and reclaim valuable plant nutrients and provide the organic matter the lawn needs to thrive without thatching.
Planting Grass Seed
Growing grass from grass seed in Colorado can be challenging due to the state's varied climate and elevation. However, with a little planning and care, it is possible to create a beautiful lawn by planting grass seed. The best time to plant grass seed is in the fall after the hot summer months have passed. Seed cool-season grasses such as rye and fescue since they are best suited for Colorado's climate. Once you have chosen your grass seeds, you will need to prepare the soil before you plant grass seed by loosening it and removing any weeds or debris. Once you plant grass seed, water the grass seed regularly and keep an eye out for signs of pests or disease. With a little effort, you can grow healthy grass from grass seed that will thrive in Colorado's climate.