Grass for a dog park

scotkight(virginia)January 23, 2010

What types of grass would you suggest for a z6 dogpark? (northern va).

Yes, I know this is a VERY difficult situation, but it is pretty big and the fescue is dead as a doornail now. I was thinking about a kbg/rye mix but not sure what direction to go.

Beauty isn't needed, just ground cover that won't make the dogs sick.

Reseeding will probably be a must, we know that.

So what do you think?

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

No grass; just shredded bark mulch. Make it 6 inches deep (minimum) and recover it every year.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:51AM
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I know you are trying to help, but I didn't ask about mulch, gravel, peat, sand or any other surface.

I am researching information about grass and grass only. We have other surfaces in the dogpark already and but I am concentrating only on the grassy/green surfaces now.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 10:51AM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)


Since your turf need is for a purpose, rather than aesthetics, K-31 may serve the purpose well.

I don't foresee a dog park receiving the same attention as a home owners lawn, with fertilizing and watering regularly.

K-31 does well with little maintenance.
It does fairly well in dry conditions.
The blades are more stout, which "might" take the dogs romping around better.
The seeds are relatively cheap.

Just food for thought.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 11:37AM
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Scot, since you need a tough grass that the dogs can tear up speak to a nurseryman about maybe a combination of seeds containing creeping bent, zoysia, perennial ryegrass and where shade is, use again the fescue.
The more shade you have, the more fescue but use the other combos for durability.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 3:13PM
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It is pretty much full sun. I thought creeping bent required a sprinkler system?
zoysia and pr sound like an idea though. Any idea on cultivars?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 4:00PM
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A few follow-up questions if I can:

1. What County are you in? Arlington Co. probably has the most dog parks (per capita or sq. mi.) than anyone - they use 100% shredded wood mulch on the 4 or 5 parks I've been to (gives the Sheriffs Dept inmates a project to keep busy a few times a year). Fairfax has parks too, but probably much larger in size, so they may just keep it "natural".

2. What size area of grass are you looking for?

3. Is this public land or HOA (Home Owers Assoc)?

Thoughts on grass - I agree with the K31 recommendation. Does fine in full sun, and more importantly, is pretty much green year round. I say this b/c while Zoysia or Bermuda would be great in the summer(i.e. aggressive spreaders, fill in patches), the dormancy period is at least 1/2 the year. If it's dormant, it's not growing, and can't repair itself, and come spring, there may be nothing left resembling any sort of "grass only" area.

Now, I'm not saying K31 (a fescue) is going to self-repair, espcially during the winter, but I would guess (and am willing to be corrected on this one) that the fact fescue stays green means it probably has a more "active" root system during the winter months that MIGHT help it survive year-round abuse.

Stay away from creeping bent - unless you mow it short, it does not establish a root system when it spreads - it more "falls over" when it gets higher, vs. bermuda, which spreads as much above ground as below ground [I'm generalizing here - particulars from you bermuda loving southerners not necessary :-) ]. Lack of good roots will allow the bentgrass to be torn up much too easily by dogs.

Lastly - be aware that the smaller the space, the more likely that whatever grass you use will be susceptible (sp?) to burning from urine - especially during those 'lovely' summers we get. I don't know of any grass that would survive these conditions.

Also - I don't know if Zoysia is available as a seed. IIRC, it's planted from plugs, and would need some sort of fertilizer to spread. Wasn't sure what your timeframe is.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 2:21PM
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scotkight, forget about the zoysia. It is very slow to recover. Dog urine will kill it and then you'll have bare patches that won't recover fast enough. And Northern Va, wouldn't be ideal for zoysia anyway.

When you talk about zoysia and rye, you're talking about a warm season and a cool season grass that require different maintenance schedules. They wouldn't co-exist very well.

As garycinchicago mentioned above, go with K31. It's low maintenance, cheap, and tolerates traffic pretty well.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 5:00PM
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