Native Grass Management
Craig R. Miller
ISA Certified Arborist
Basic Native Grass Guidance
DO NOT MOW NATIVE AREAS
- Mowing weakens the native grasses, causes them to go dormant and creates weed
- Tall grasses help shade the ground and adjacent grass plants, reducing evaporation of
the moisture in the soil. They also encourage animal biodiversity and native wildlife
habitats in open areas.
- It is recommended all mowing operations be eliminated year round, even in the fall. If
you must mow, late fall (October/November) only.
DO NOT IRRIGATE NATIVE GRASSES
- They are adapted to their environment and grow deep roots, allowing them to get by on
- Irrigating native grasses forces air out of the soil and causes the roots to remain shallow.
Shallow rooting requires more water for the plants to survive.
- Irrigation also encourages weeds, causes excessive growth and creates conditions
favorable to mosquitos.
MANAGE WEEDS IN NATIVE GRASS STANDS AND OVERSEED BARE AREAS
- Weed management should start as early in the season as possible and continue
throughout the growing season as needed. This helps prevent the weeds from spreading
and getting too established.
- Restoring native grasses in areas where they are thin or absent helps to crowd out
weeds and prevents erosion. Reclamation and reseeding must be part of a weed control
plan from the start.
- Over seeding is usually best done in the fall, to take advantage of winter snows and
spring rains, which encourage grass seed germination.
Detailed Native Grass Information
- When the settlers first made their way west from the founding colonies, they were greeted with a wide expanse of native grasses across the plains and prairies. Having evolved in the Americas, they needed no watering or fertilizing to thrive.
- In an effort to reduce water usage, as well as the need for mowing, fertilizing and pest management, HOAs and homeowners often consider the replacement of mowed, irrigated turf with native grass species.
- These areas are often referred to as “native grass” areas because their unmowed appearance sometimes looks like that of a native prairie.
- The impact and management of these low maintenance native areas is often a concern within HOA communities – especially for those who live next to them.
- Types of Native Grasses
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Grasses
- Native Grass Mixes for Colorado
- Management of Native Grass Stands