How To Plant Dog Tuff™ Grass


Dog Tuff™ Grass is

• VERY drought tolerant
• VERY resistant to dog urine
• LOVES full, hot sun
• GROWS happily on dry slopes
• DOESN’T wear thin in the winter like buffalo grass
• RECOVERS from excessive foot traffic quickly
• HONEYBEES love the pollen

But it still needs some love when you first plant it.

Overview for planting

 -Make sure to keep plugs wet after you receive them, keep in
shaded area up to a week before you plant them.

 -Requires at least 6 hours of full sun in your planted area.

 -Make sure to kill all existing grass and weeds, as they are
hard to get rid of later.

-Remove the dead material

-Moisten soil deeply, but don't make muddy.

-Rototill 1 and half inch of pea gravel (this helps allow
roots to penetrate for maximum drought tolerance in clay soils. Use Hydraulic Rototiller or it may not go very deep.

 -Rototill in 2 to 3 inches of compost.

 -Water for 1 to 2 weeks to see if any weed seeds germinate.
Scrape them with a hoe while small.

-A screw gun with an auger type bit that is 1.25inch wide can help with planting, but not needed if you really loosen your soil.

 -Plant your new Dog Tuff plugs 10 inches apart for optimal fill in

 -Sprinkle organic fertilizer

 -Sprinkle "Preen  Garden"( the other formulas can have other herbicides!!!!)  This helps prevents
weeds from germinating while the plugs fill in.

-Water in the Dog Tuff!

 -Water every day, even 2 times a day, keep plugs wet the first Month. Under watering can slow or hurt it the first few weeks.

 - You can water every other day the 2nd month, every third
day the 3rd month and son on, but we have never seen it get too much water. The more you give it the faster it will fill in.

 -Can handle light traffic 6 to 8 weeks after planting

 -2nd summer water once a week.

 -Year 3 the grass will be incredibly drought tolerant. You
can water less and see how it does. With good soil it can go a few weeks or more without water. 

How to Prepare Your Lawn For Dog Tuff™ Grass

For best aesthetics we recommend killing your existing turf grass before planting your Dog Tuff™Grass.

Whether you have Kentucky Blue Grass, Tall Fescue, Bermuda grass, Saint Augustine, Perennial Rye or some other thirsty grass, you will receive best results if you first kill the existing turf grass. Although we always prefer natural lawn and garden products, the most efficient means would be to use the chemical Glyphosate (Various brand names exist. Check with your local garden center or hardware store). 

This chemical only works on grass that is actively growing (not dormant). Which means you must water the existing lawn to ensure there is no dormant grass, otherwise if you don't, it will be lying in wait until conditions are ideal, such as after planting when you are soaking the ground regularly.

Pictured here are Dog Tuff™Grass plugs just after they were planted in July.

Thanks to our wonderful customer, Nick Evers, for providing time lapse photos of Dog Tuff™ Grass growing from plugs into a full-fledged lawn.

BE VERY CAREFUL. Round Up brand (which is know for having Glyphosate) has many other non glyphosate products and ingredients. Many if not most of them will be harmful to Dog Tuff™ Grass. Glyphosate is the only active chemical herbicide that we have tested to be safe for Dog Tuff™ Grass when used per their instructions and after you have let it sit for 2 weeks after the application. 

Planting Your Dog Tuff™ Grass Plugs

If not opposed to glyphosate, make sure your existing turf is not dormant and actively growing by giving some good waterings prior to spraying.  (IF it is heat dormant you will need to spend a good week or two watering to ensure there is ample leaf surface to absorb the glyphosate.) It is many times easier to kill your existing turf prior to planting than after. If you are confident that there is no dormant roots then one application will do, but to be 100% confident give yourself enough time prior to planting Dog Tuff™ grass  (with waterings) to be sure no grass is going to reemerge after planting.  If you see some grasses reemerging, then spot spray.

Pictured here, the Dog Tuff™ Grass plugs in August as they begin to fill-in across the yard.

For those of us who are not comfortable with glyphosate; if you think of it as a 1 time application of chemicals to bring your yard to a water-wise standing it is a little easier of a pill to swallow.  

Applying a pre-emergent( like "Preen Garden" other varieties of Preen may hurt Dog Tuff) after the glyphosate application will make the process much easier.  This will aid in the periord prior to planting but through the process of planting and the neccesary disruption to the soil it will be rendered inactive; therefore we reccomend an application after planting.  But this can be avoided if you have many hands to aid in manual weed removal.  (This is no small task..)

 Kill the old lawn at least 2 weeks before the Dog Tuff ™ grass plugs arrive. If you don’t kill the old grass, it will compete with the Dog Tuff ™ and look unattractive. The ground should be deeply irrigated for a few days before installing the Dog Tuff ™. Alternatively, if you will be planting Dog Tuff ™ in bare, freshly cultivated soil there are some different steps. In this case, plant the plugs in damp soil, apply an organic lawn food (has lower nitrogen), apply a pre-emergent weed preventer chemical, then irrigate frequently to maximize growth.

When Can I Plant My Dog Tuff™ Plugs?

You can plant Dog Tuff™ grass plugs from mid-May through August in USDA Zone 5. You have a longer planting window in Zone 6, and an even longer window in Zone 7. Planted on 10-inch centers, a tray of 70 will cover about 48 square feet. At this spacing, the Dog Tuff ™ grass will mostly fill in  by August or September.

When your plugs arrive, unpack them, water them and put them in a frost-free, shaded area outdoors.

Make sure they never dry out!

Do not plant Dog Tuff ™ grass before the last frost as it may be damaged or delayed in growth.

Here the Dog Tuff™ plugs have really started to fill in across the yard by September.

Installation of Dog Tuff™ Plugs

Make sure that the ground is well saturated with water several days ahead of time so that the plugs don’t dry out during installation. Apply a light application of organic fertilizer such as an alfalfa meal, dried poultry waste, corn gluten, or sea kelp type fertilizer. Corn gluten granules act as good fertilizer and may also help to prevent weed seed germination. 

The most reliable and recommended organic option is to till the area and remove the unwanted grass w/ roots.  This method will require repeated attempts to completely remove the high water grass. 

By late September the Dog Tuff plugs has really started to fill in across the yard.

Punch holes in the ground using a metal rod (like a long pry bar or broom handle). If you are doing more than several trays, we suggest purchasing a 1 ½” auger-style drill bit. The longer the bit, the more they cost, but the less bending you need to do. Gently remove the plug from the plug tray by pushing it up from the bottom! Pulling it from the top may break off the roots. Insert the plug into the hole, gently squeezing the soil closed from the sides. Do this during the cooler morning or evening hours. Have a water hose with a mist nozzle handy and water in the plugs thoroughly within a half hour of planting. You may need to plant a section and water it before moving on to the next section. You may want to mark a nylon string every 10 inches with a marking pen to use as a guide in the installation, or simply create a 10” square cardboard jig to guide you. It doesn’t matter if the plugs are perfectly spaced, but it looks nice.


After all the plugs are installed, water again thoroughly. The more you water the faster the grass will fill in. If water runs off it is no longer penetrating so it becomes a waste.

We recommend a minimum watering with the following schedule.

Water the area 1 or 2 times a day for first month. 2nd month you can water every other day. 3rd Month you can water every third day. 4th month every 4th day and so on.

By the next spring, water once or twice a week (depending on the weather). Dog Tuff ™ will be fully drought tolerant the third season. By the third year you can test the drought tolerance. We recommend watering once a week during the growing season. If your soil was prepared well and the roots have gone deep, it can do well with 1 or 2 waterings per month. (17in rain in the Denver area). Water more if your soil needs it.

Maintenance of Dog Tuff™ Plugs

2,4-D Amine is the only herbicide to kill broad leaf weeds in your turf, that we have officially tested on Dog Tuff™ Grass. Use at very low rates. The only ratio we have tested is 4 teaspoons per gallon. Do your own research and make sure to read labels. Be extremely careful, don't apply Scotts Weed and Feed or other herbicides as many will hurt or kill your lawn!

Water Dog Tuff grass by irrigating less than once a week (depending on the weather). Apply ½ inch to 1 inch of water per irrigation. It’s better to irrigate deeply, but less often to encourage grass roots to grow deeply and evade drought. Grass watered shallowly and frequently will have shallow roots that are more prone to drought damage.

By October, the Dog Tuff™ Grass plugs have transformed into a thick grassy lawn.

FERTILIZE Dog Tuff™ grass by using corn gluten (liquid or granular) or with a low analysis organic nitrogen source like fertilizers made with alfalfa meal, sea kelp meal, or poultry waste. Corn Gluten is applied in late October, late February and early May. Alfalfa Meal or Poultry Waste is applied in early May and again in mid-September.

Don’t apply both Corn Gluten with the other recommended fertilizers as this may cause excessive growth. Corn Gluten and/or Alfalfa Meal/Sea Kelp Meal/Poultry Waste should be irrigated immediately after application. Apply at least ½ inch of water (or apply before a rain storm).

Mow Dog Tuff™ grass as needed, but it does not require mowing. In the Denver area, where the grass was developed, we only mow it every 5-7 days from that last week in June through July and August, and possibly in September. Left un-mowed, Dogtooth grass looks like gentle mounds of forest moss.If you choose to mow it, remove no more that ½ inch at a time as it will scalp the grass; making it susceptible to sunburn. Scalped/sun burned grass will eventually recover.  Edge using a weed whacker or edging tool.

You read all that?! You're officially ready to order Dog Tuff™ Grass for your yard!