Turfgrass Choices

Turfgrass varieties fall into two basic categories: cool season grass and warm season grass. This care guide caters to the Intermountain West and will focus mainly on cool season turfgrasses because our winters are too harsh for warm season grasses to thrive. Chanshare Farms recommends installing a blend of bluegrass. Ideally, your seed blend should be selected specifically for early and late season green-up, high drought tolerance, and low maintenance requirements.

While cool season grasses can survive the Winter and Summer, it is important to remember that they grow best in the Spring and Fall. See the following chart for growth patterns according to temperature.

When temperatures range from 40 to 90 degrees, cool season grasses grow best. They grow actively when the temperature ranges from 60 to 75 degrees. Cool season grasses develop root growth in temperature ranges from 33 to 75 degrees, and the roots grow actively in temperatures from 40 to 65 degrees. Cool season grasses generally stop growing when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees.

During the Winter, grass is often covered in snow and you can enjoy a welcome break from yard work. Summer, however, is a different story. Bluegrass goes dormant during long stretches of hot, dry weather. Active growth stops and cool season grasses struggle to stay green without supplemental water. Remember that this is a normal part of the cool season grass cycle! There is no need to overwater. And contrary to popular belief, allowing bluegrass to go dormant during hot dry summer months during periods of extreme drought is an acceptable practice. The periods of blazing heat will come to an end and your lawn will bounce back.


Fescues generally are well adapted to cool, moist climates and have good shade tolerance characteristics. They have not yet proven long-term viability in the arid Rocky Mountain region. Fescues are more susceptible to snow mold than bluegrass. Some varieties of fine fescues are more tolerant of insects and temperature extremes. Tall fescues have decent tolerance of drought and heat provided roots can penetrate the soil deeply.

Most fescues are not rhizomatous, meaning that the plant does not spread through rhizomes. Rhizomes are roots that grow into separate plants. Therefore, damaged areas in a fescue lawn must be replanted because it cannot repair itself. Sometimes fescues are mixed with bluegrass to meet specific customer wants. In studies conducted by Michigan State University show that most fescues are not as wear tolerant as bluegrass.


Ryegrass is a bunchgrass that has a high wear tolerance and germinates quickly. For these reasons, ryegrass is sometimes mixed with other types of cool season turfgrasses such as bluegrass. It is considered drought-resistant and can maintain its color and texture longer than other grasses under heavy drought conditions. Ryegrass can be used in a lawn or as a form of erosion control. This type of cool season grass prefers year-round moderate temperatures and may be seriously damaged by extremely cold winters. Most ryegrass is not rhizomatous.


Certain bluegrass cultivars are native to the Intermountain West which explains why it flourishes in our region. Some cultivars of bluegrass have been imported from Europe or other parts of the United States. Because of its high adaptability to native soils, bluegrass is the most widely accepted cool season grass in the region. In fact, bluegrass is easily the most popular and versatile cool season turfgrass in the northern United States.

Scientists and turfgrass breeders have developed many different cultivars of bluegrass. Over 200 species of bluegrass exist worldwide. These varieties are often blended to achieve an ideal bluegrass lawn for a specific use or location.

Kentucky bluegrass cultivars are also sometimes mixed in with fescue or ryegrass to achieve a desired effect. Ryegrass and bluegrass can be mixed to change the overall appearance and quality of a turfgrass lawn. The high wear tolerance and quicker germination of ryegrass can help to improve the bluegrass base. The drought and shade tolerance of tall fescues, or the ability to withstand temperature extremes and the moisture tolerance of fine fescues are sometimes used to complement the positive attributes of bluegrass.

While other grasses are useful in specific situations, time has proven that the most dependable lawn for the Intermountain West is a blend of several cultivars of bluegrass. Chanshare Farms’ proprietary seed mix includes several cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass chosen specifically for their high drought tolerance and low maintenance requirements.

TWCA approved Desert Sage

Chanshare Farms is focused on being at the cutting edge of lawn quality and water conservation research. We work with scientists on our own tests and follow the annual national seed trials conducted by America’s leading agricultural colleges and select our seed blends accordingly.  The Turfgrass Water Conservation Association (TWCA) is recognized in the Green Industry as the standard in certifying sod as drought-tolerant. TWCA works with sod farms across North America to develop region specific seed blends that require significantly less water.

After thorough research and extensive analysis, we are proud to offer, Desert Sage, a TWCA approved product! Desert Sage is popular in the Intermountain West for its capacity to thrive on up to 30% less water than typical bluegrass. Many of our customers, assuming that drought-tolerant equals prickly and sparse have been surprised to find that Desert Sage is soft and lush.  And because it is TWCA certified, Desert Sage is eligible for rebates and subsidy in many cities.

Our Desert Sage sod provides the following advantages.

Excellent ColorEarly Spring Green UpLate Fall Green
Fine Leaf TextureHigh Plant DensityMinimal Input Required (Fertilizer, Water, Pesticide)
High Altitude ToleranceSuperb Wear ToleranceHigh Horizontal Growth
Drought TolerantTWCA Certified
Chanshare's Desert Sage