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12 Best Grasses to Plant in a Dog Park

If you own a dog park, one of the things you need to put in place that will ensure that both dogs and their owners feel comfortable and relaxed whenever they are in your park is to plant suitable grass. Trust me, planting grass in a dog park offers several advantages.

For example, the natural surface provides a comfortable and safe area for dogs to play, reducing the risk of injuries compared to harder surfaces. Grass also absorbs and dissipates heat, creating a cooler environment for both dogs and their owners.

Apart from the reasons stated above, grass helps to make a space visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing, enhancing the overall experience for park visitors while minimizing dust and mud issues commonly associated with other ground coverings.

There are several options when it comes to the types of grasses you can plant in your dog park. In this article, we will look at some of the best grass you can plant in your dog park.

Best Grass to Plant in a Dog Park

  1. Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

Perennial ryegrass is an important pasture and forage plant and is used in many pasture seed mixes. In fertile soil, it produces a high grass yield, and in Britain and Ireland, it is frequently sown for short-term ley grassland, often with red or white clover (Trifolium).

One good thing about Perennial ryegrass is that the upper surface (adaxial) is distinctly ridged. These can be seen easily with the naked eye. The underside (abaxial) is smooth and very glossy.

It has a distinct arching keel down the center of the leaf. Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is used for hard-wearing sports turf, lawn reseeding, lawn repair, etc.

  1. Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)

Poa is Greek for fodder and pratensis is derived from pratum, the Latin for meadow. The name Kentucky bluegrass derives from its flower heads, which are blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet).

Poa pratensis is the type species of the grass family Poaceae. Kentucky bluegrass is a long-lived sod-forming perennial grass.

Stems grow 1 to 2 feet in height when allowed to grow uncut. Leaves are narrow and dark-green 2 to 7 inches in length. The inflorescence is a pyramid-shaped panicle about 2 to 8 inches long.

It might interest you to note that Kentucky bluegrass has long been the most important cool-season grass planted as turf in places like dog parks.

It has been used for lawns, athletic fields, golf course fairways, tees, and rough, and has been widely planted for pastures in regions where it thrives.

  1. Fescue (Festuca spp.)

Festuca (fescue) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the grass family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). They are evergreen or herbaceous perennial tufted grasses with a height range of 10–200 cm (4–79 in) and a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on every continent except Antarctica.

It is important to note that Fescue (Festuca spp.) is versatile and adaptable, with varieties suitable for various climates and soil types. It favors sites with heavy soil, including grassland, coastal scrub, roadsides, ditches, and other disturbed sites.

  1. Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)

Bouteloua dactyloides, commonly known as buffalograss or buffalo grass, is a North American prairie grass native to Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

It is a shortgrass found mainly on the High Plains and is co-dominant with blue grama (B. gracilis). Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a fine-textured greyish-green grass. The leaves are rolled in the bud, there are no auricles, and the ligule is a fringe of hairs.

The leaf blades are curled, drooping, and pointed. . The good things about Buffalo Grass are that it has low maintenance, is drought-tolerant, and known for its soft texture.

  1. Zoysia Grass (Zoysia spp.)

Zoysiagrasses are warm-season grasses native to China, Japan, and other parts of Southeast Asia. The species was named to commemorate an 18th-century Austrian botanist, Karl von Zois. In 1911, Zoysia matrella was introduced into the United States from Manila by a U.S.D.A. botanist, C. V. Piper.

One of the characteristics that makes Zoysia Grass (Zoysia spp.) suitable for dog parks is that the grass is considered a warm-season grass with improved cold tolerance.

The grass prefers sun, tolerates some light shade, is suitable for southern and transition zones, is tolerant of heat and drought, has low water and maintenance requirements, and has dense, traffic-tolerant growth.

  1. Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)

Cynodon dactylon, commonly known as Bermuda grass, and also known as Couch grass in Australia & New Zealand is a grass found worldwide. It is native to Europe, Africa, Australia, and much of Asia.

It has been introduced to the Americas. Bermuda grass usually is 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 inches) tall and has short flat leaves. The spikelets are borne in four or five slender spikes at the tips of the upright stems.

Extensively creeping stolons and rhizomes (aboveground and underground horizontal stems) enable the plant to establish a dense turf. Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) is wear-resistant and quick to recover, thriving in sunny climates.

  1. Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)

Festuca arundinacea (syn., Schedonorus arundinaceus and Lolium arundinaceum) is a species of grass commonly known as tall fescue. It is a cool-season perennial C3 species of bunchgrass native to Europe.

Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is an important forage grass throughout Europe, and many cultivars have been used in agriculture. It is tolerant of wear and tear and adaptable to different soil types.

  1. Fine Fescue (Festuca rubra)

Festuca rubra is a species of grass known by the common name red fescue, creeping red fescue, or rush-leaf fescue. It is widespread across much of the Northern Hemisphere and can tolerate many habitats and climates.

They are evergreen or herbaceous perennial tufted grasses with a height range of 10–200 cm (4–79 in) and a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on every continent except Antarctica.

The good things about Fine Fescue (Festuca rubra) are that it is shade-tolerant and disease-resistant, and highly suitable for diverse park conditions.

  1. Dog Tuff™ Grass (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’)

This Cynodon selection (Cynodon ‘PWIN04S’) is derived from African grasses similar to American buffalo grass but holds up better to wear and tear.

It is a sterile hybrid so it can’t reseed into the wild environment and become an invasive weed. Dog Tuff grass is drought tolerant, stands up to moderate foot traffic, and tolerates dog urine. A warm season grass, it’s green during the growing season.

Dog Tuff ™ does not require mowing unless you prefer a low, trim look. Without mowing, Dog Tuff ™ grows in gentle mounds, which look more like woodland moss.

Note that Dog Tuff™ grass is very sensitive to weed-killing herbicides such as 2,4-D, Dicamba, etc., as well as the all-purpose weed killers that contain glyphosate (such as Roundup® and KillzallII). Hence you should not use weed and feed fertilizers as they contain these chemicals also.

  1. California Native Bentgrass (Agrostis pallens)

Agrostis densiflora is a species of grass known by the common name California bent grass. It is endemic to the coast of northern and central California, United States, where it grows in habitat along the immediate coastline, such as dunes and bluffs.

Bentgrasses are typically tufted and have slender stems and flat leaf blades. Many species have creeping stolons or rhizomes (horizontal subsurface stems) and can spread vegetatively. The flowers are open or dense clusters of small spikelets and are wind-pollinated.

Note that there are three types of bent grasses: Colonial, Creeping, and Velvet. Each has particular qualities relating to climate, salt tolerance, depth of colour, and texture.

  1. Seashore Paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum)

Paspalum vaginatum is a species of grass known by many names, including seashore paspalum, biscuit grass, saltwater couch, silt grass, and swamp couch.

It is native to the Americas, where it grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Paspalum notatum is a sod-forming, deep-rooted, warm-season perennial grass.

The individual short rhizomes of P. notatum are tough, and stout, and are often covered with the overlapping bases of old leaf sheaths. Seashore Paspalum is salt-tolerant and durable, suitable for coastal dog parks.

  1. Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum)

Pennisetum is a genus of plants within the Poaceae family, native to Ethiopia. They are commonly referred to as ‘fountaingrasses’.

The appearance and structure of Pennisetum inspired the genus name, the Latin term, ‘penna’, meaning feather, and ‘seta’ meaning ‘bristle’.

The tropical grass species Cenchrus clandestinus (previously Pennisetum clandestinum) is known by several common names, most often Kikuyu grass.