The Q&A Archives: WInter Kill on new Lawn

Question: We've been trying to establish a lawn for the last two years. The soil is basically sand, so we've brought in top soil. The lawn was growing pretty well until we hit a very hot dry summer last year, and couldn't keep it watered so it basically went dormant (or died). We spread another thin layer of dirt and seeded again in the fall. Again, it started growing, but we had very little snow cover this winter, and a period of extremely cold weather. (We are 50 miles north of Brainerd, MN). The grass is very spotty now. What is the best solution? Seed again? The golf course up here also has very severe winter kill, so it may not have been just because of new grass. We have lots of southern exposure. The front of our yard, towards the lake has a native grass cover - some type of prairie grass, that is VERY hardy, but I can't find anyone who knows what type of grass it is.
Any help with native grass types?

Answer: Sorry to hear about your trials and tribulations! Native grasses might be the best solution - at least they would be less maintenance intensive! There are two native grasses I'm familiar with; Smooth Brome and Sideoats Grama. Either would make a good substitute for the grasses you're currently trying to grow. There are other native grasses, but these are the lowest growing and the most likely candidates for a lawn substitute.

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