Native Grass Management
Craig R. Miller
ISA Certified Arborist
Basic Native Grass Guidance
PLEASE 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.
PLEASE 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.
- 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