Low water turf and ornamental grasses grow very well here in the High Desert. It will be hard to choose from the many varieties below.
What kind of grasses should i choose?
Non-native turf grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, fescues and even Bermuda Grass require tremendous amounts of water to thrive—as much as 40 inches of water per growing season, in the case of Bluegrass.
The Water Authority’s Desert Friendly landscapes rebate is based on the square footage of turf removed. Albuquerque’s annual rainfall is eight inches or less; clearly, Kentucky Bluegrass is not well-suited to our environment.
In fact, homes built since 1995 in Albuquerque are allowed no more than 20% turf. Lower-water alternatives include Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) and Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis). These can be augmented with ornamental grasses, but regardless of the types of grasses you plant, remember to maximize watering efficiency.
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Ornamental grasses, unlike lawns, serve as horticultural exclamation points and can add interest in areas that need a bit of sprucing up.
Summer through early winter is the prime time for the soft textures and colors of ornamental grasses. They should be cut down as close to the ground as possible each spring so the new blades can emerge unencumbered by the previous year’s dead leaves. Because this leaves gaps in the planting for several weeks, place the larger grasses as you would shrubs of the same size, mixing in some evergreens or grassy succulents such as Yucca or Beargrass to create interest while the grasses regrow.
Silky Threadgrass, Nassella syn stipa tenuissima
Full Sun Low Water Mature Size: 24”X 24” Plant this ornamental grass where a gentle breeze will...