Types of Colorado Grasses and How to Care for Them

Portrait of a little boy having fun on grass in park or garden. The boy is standing on hands. Sunny spring or summer evening.

From the first warm days of spring to the last days of fall, a well-kept lawn is where your family, friends and pets can gather to enjoy themselves. Not to mention how a beautiful lawn gives your property major curb appeal.

One of the most important aspects of maintaining your lawn is knowing what type of grass is growing in your yard, and the type of care your grass requires.

There are many different types of grass that grow throughout Boulder County’s four seasons. Knowing the type of grass you have and how to care for it will keep your yard looking healthy all year long.

Most grasses in Boulder County can be categorized into cool season grasses and warm season grasses.

Cool Season Grasses

Cool season grasses typically grow better in Colorado due to the state’s lower average temperatures.

These are a few of the most popular cool season grasses that may be in your yard in Boulder County:

Kentucky Bluegrass

Despite its name, Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent choice for Colorado lawns. This grass is one of the most popular selections for lawns in the state.

This type of grass has a V-shape to the blades, and its underground rhizomes (roots) branch rapidly in maturity, which provide thick coverage.

To plant the seed, make sure to start in the fall before it gets too cold. This will ensure that the seed comes up and establishes roots to help it survive all year.

Watering & Maintenance

Kentucky bluegrass is moderately easy to maintain, but it isn’t drought-resistant.

This grass requires a bi-weekly watering when weather conditions are dry — which is pretty characteristic of the weather in Colorado year-round.

To keep Kentucky bluegrass healthy, you should mow it when the grass reaches 2.53 inches tall in winter, and 3–3.5 inches in summer.

When planting, use only a starter fertilizer high in phosphorous or organic fertilizer. Any other type of fertilizer can destroy seedlings and cost you a lot of money.

Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is another cool-season grass that’s ideal for Boulder County.

It features long, broad blades, yet is soft to the touch and durable. These features make tall fescue a popular choice for athletic fields.

The best part about tall fescue is that it’s low-maintenance and stays a vibrant green throughout the year.

Watering & Maintenance

Tall fescue is also heat-tolerant and drought resistant, which allows it to thrive during the hot, dry summer days.

March through May and September through February, tall fescue needs 1-1⁄4 inches of water every week.

June through August, water your grass as needed to prevent drought, or allow your lawn to go dormant. A dormant lawn still needs watering once every 3 weeks during a drought.

Try to maintain the height of the grass around 2 inches to keep it healthy throughout the cool season. Experts recommend fertilizing tall fescue from September through February, and not past March 15.

Fine Fescue

Fine fescue and tall fescue are in the same family of fescue grasses, but planting and care are far different.

Fine fescue has almost needle-like leaves, typically about half the width of tall fescue. It spreads somewhat rapidly, meaning you can fill your lawn in without having to overseed every year.

Watering & Maintenance

Tall fescue is highly drought-resistant, so you can go a week or more without watering.

Like tall fescue, fine fescue doesn’t require a lot of attention. You can generally cut it at your leisure or taste without killing it.

With just a little fertilizer, tall fescue will really take off — unless you’re growing it in rocky or low-nutrient soil.

With dry and rocky soil, use gypsum to soften the soil or lime to neutralize the pH balance.

Warm Season Grasses

Although Colorado typically maintains fairly mild temperatures in the summer, some warm season grasses can thrive in Boulder County even when the temperatures rise into the 80s and 90s.

Here are the best warm season grasses to plant:

Blue Grama Grass

You might not know it, but blue grama grass is the state grass of Colorado.

Native to the prairies of eastern Colorado, blue grama grass is best known for its eyelash-like seed heads that bloom if left uncut through spring.

Watering & Maintenance

Mowings each week from spring to fall will keep this grass looking great for the entire year.

It’s drought-resistant, durable, and requires little maintenance aside from weekly or bi-weekly waterings.

Buffalo Grass

If you typically have 6 to 8 hours of sunlight or have very little tree cover in your yard, buffalo grass is your greatest ally.

Buffalo grass grows well in direct sunlight, and only requires frequent waterings during germination.

Watering & Maintenance

Once this grass is established, you’ll have no problem maintaining it. Mowings are only necessary about every 2 weeks, even during peak growth in summer and fall.

Buffalo grass also spreads quickly, minimizing the need for overseeding and fertilizing.

Putting time and effort into your lawn care adds value to your home and gives your family and friends a space to relax and play all year round.

But despite how hard you work to maintain a beautiful yard, there are some threats you can’t always predict. Learn about the 5 biggest threats to your Colorado lawn, and how to counter them .