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Dog Tuff Plug-Planted Grass Lawn

Sustainable Lawns & Dog Tuff Grass

by David Salman, Founder of High Country Gardens

Lawns are a permanent fixture in the US, with current estimates of nearly 50 million acres under grass! A lush green lawn looks beautiful and provides the perfect surface to walk through the garden, where kids can run, and pets can play. But the old methods of lawn care, what we think lawns should look like, and how they fit into our landscapes are changing to reflect the new paradigms of our times. We should be aware of how lawns positively and negatively affect the planet, and how our lawns can help.

On the positive side:

  • Lawns provide cooling to our urban and suburban areas to combat the effects of urban heat islands.
  • Lawns absorb and filter our water as it moves from the sky into the aquifers and waterways.
  • Lawns enhance the quality of our lives by providing by providing soft, cool areas to play sports, fly kites, run our dogs and have picnics.

On the negative side:

  • Lawns, when cared for using traditional methods, use huge amounts of environmentally damaging chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
  • Traditional lawn care is very energy intensive and makes lawns a carbon negative part of our landscapes (more carbon is generated than is absorbed by the grass).
  • Lawns can waste water when our water resources are being stretched and depleted.

Sustainable Lawns From High Country Gardens

With a sustainable lawn, you can enjoy all the benefits of soft green grass without compromising on your values for a sustainable landscape. High Country Gardens has pioneered waterwise gardening for over 25 years. We offer grass plugs and grass seeds that are drought tolerant, hardy, and low maintenance, as well as a range of alternative lawn solutions. When you choose a sustainable lawn, you'll conserve water, reduce mowing and maintenance, save time and money – all while enjoying your outdoor space more than ever.

High Country Gardens has pioneered the use of native grass varieties for low water lawns. These include:

Consider switching from high input, water-intensive grass varieties and ones that use less water and fertilizer, are deep rooted for resilience and drought tolerance, and  are low-growing or slower growing for less frequent mowing. To find out which sustainable grasses will be best for you, learn more in our helpful articles. 

The Scoop on Dog Tuff™

Dog Tuff™ Grass comes to us from Republic of South African at the tip of the African continent. It is a naturally sterile hybrid that was brought to the high, dry plains of southeastern Colorado many years ago by the daughter of a rancher returning from a trip to South Africa. The rancher planted the starts and has been growing a thick, lush lawn ever since. Sometime later samples of the grass were planted in Denver and forgotten. But, thanks to the efforts of Nurseryman Kelly Grummons, of Arvada, CO who called it to my attention, it’s now available. Grown vegetatively from stolons (it sets no viable seed), you create a Dog Tuff™ lawn by planting plugs on 6 to 12-inch centers. Here are Dog Tuff™'s attributes:

  • It’s an extremely durable and deep-rooted grass that creates a nearly weed-proof, dog resistant lawn once well established.
  • It’s a grass that thrives in heat and survives cold temperatures down to about -20° F (Zone 5).
  • It's low-water, needing only a couple of inches of water per month in the growing season.
  • It loves all types of soils, but especially clay.
  • It grows best in zones 5-8, areas that get about 30 to 35 inches or less of precipitation annually.

Plant it in from late spring (May) into mid-July so it can grow during the heat of the summer, its favorite weather. The soft, fine texture is a delight for bare feet and paws. A warm-season grower, it’s green from April into October and has a nice straw color over the winter.