It’s no secret that Colorado Springs sits in a stunning location. Nestled at the edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains and sitting more than 6,000 feet above sea level, the city delivers a bevy of outstanding views. But the same topography that makes it so beautiful also brings challenges. The climate in Colorado Springs can be both picture-perfect and less than ideal for plants, including your lawn. It has a cooler, dry winter, a semi-arid climate, and weather conditions have a tendency to vary drastically day to day.

    With an average of 243 sunny days per year, lawns need watering to survive. Despite being one of the nation’s most active lightning strike areas, the level of annual precipitation is relatively low. But the city has a history of instituting and then removing lawn water restrictions. This makes maintaining a healthy, green lawn challenging. With that in mind, here are the four best grass types for Colorado Springs.

    1. Kentucky Bluegrass

    It’s the most commonly used turf in the area because it’s durable, holds up to foot traffic, and is damage resistant. It isn’t as drought tolerant as fescue, but a good watering will bring it out of dormancy.

    Classification: Cool-season grass

    Spreads by: Below-ground rhizomes

    Shade tolerance: Poor

    Drought tolerance:  Medium

    Foot traffic tolerance: High 

    Maintenance needs: Weekly mowing, annual aeration, dethatching, fertilization, and pest control

    Recommended mowing height: Mow to 2 to 2.5 -inches or to 3 to 4-inches during high heat and low rainfall periods

    2. Tall Fescue

    This is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant grass that prefers shady, low-traffic areas.

    Classification: Cool-season grass

    Spreads by: Grows in clumps and spreads through “tillers.”

    Shade tolerance: High

    Drought tolerance:  High

    Foot traffic tolerance: Poor

    Maintenance needs: Occasional overseeding

    Recommended mowing height: Mow to 2 to 3-inches

    3. Perennial Ryegrass

    This grass type thrives in mild summers, cool winters, and lots of sunlight.

    Classification: Cool-season grass

    Spreads by: Grows in clumps and spreads through “tillers”

    Shade tolerance: Low to moderate

    Drought tolerance:  Moderate

    Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate to high

    Maintenance needs: Regular fertilization

    Recommended mowing height: Mow to 1.5-2.5 inches

    4. Buffalo Grass

    Although buffalograss is actually a warm-season grass, it does well in lower elevation areas of Colorado Springs, thanks to its durability.

    Classification: Warm-season grass

    Spreads by: Above-ground stolons

    Shade tolerance: Moderate

    Drought tolerance:  High

    Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate 

    Maintenance needs: Weed control, some fertilization

    Recommended mowing height: Mow weekly to 2 to 3-inches

    Bermudagrass

    Bermudagrass grass is another warm-season grass that has become increasingly common in Colorado, but for all the wrong reasons. It has a notoriously aggressive growth habit, spreading through both above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes. Although it’s a favorite across the Southern states, it is considered more of a nuisance weed in Colorado Springs because of the way it can take over a lawn in the summer and then go completely dormant for the rest of the year. Bermudagrass can be controlled through the use of herbicides, but there are specific requirements for garden, lawn, and non-selective use.

    Like most cities, Colorado Springs bans watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is likely to evaporate the moisture. Early morning is always best since nighttime irrigation can invite pests and disease.