There are many choices for lawn grasses that will do well in residential landscapes, but sadly there is not one perfect grass. Each variety will have pros and cons. Reviewed here are solid options so that you can choose which may be best for the growing conditions in your North Texas lawn.
The right choice is important so that your yard will thrive and look lush. If you have a problem area or if your landscape presents different growing conditions, you may need to select a couple of options for good results. Keep in mind that if you don’t control the growing situation and you let your lawn thin out, Mother Nature will take over and fill in with dreaded weeds. The best solution for weed control is a thick, robust lawn.
What are the Best Grasses for North Texas Lawns?
The most common turf grass growing in North Texas will be a variety of Bermuda. This grass is reliable in drought conditions and offers excellent wear. This relatively fine bladed grass will green up nicely in spring and if watered and fertilized properly will perform well in HOT temperatures. Bermuda is a sun loving species and will not fare well in a heavy shade.
A particularly tough Bermuda grass variety is “Celebration”. Along with being highly drought tolerant, Celebration offers a dark blue-green shade which is quite lovely. It will require less frequent mowing that a typical Bermuda and its deep roots make for excellent sod strength, resilience and improved tolerance for dry conditions. Celebration will spread rapidly and is a bit more accepting of shade. The hearty rhizome system makes it more impervious to weeds.
The most widely grown St. Augustine in North Texas lawns is “Raleigh”. This variety has a color that is medium green and is also resistant to the SAD virus. It does well in soils that have heavy clay content. It offers a narrow blade and develops a very dense coverage. Raleigh will need only four hours of sun making it an option for partial shade conditions.
The St. Augustine variety Palmetto is often preferred by some lawn professionals because of its more agreeable temperament. The color is a lovely emerald green and Palmetto offers a hardy turf that is shade, drought and heat tolerant.
A variety of Zoysia called “Palisades” was developed by Texas A&M and is a variety of Zoysia Japonica which was brought to North America from Japan in the late 1800s. Palisades has a medium-coarse texture, tolerates heat and endures cold rather well. It also handles modest shade, requiring a minimum of sun for only three hours. Maybe most significant, Palisades is one of the most drought tolerant of the Zoysias. Studies indicate that it will survive up to fifteen weeks without water. With its high drought tolerance, a naturally dense turf that wards off weeds, and shade tolerance, Palisades is a favorite grass recommendation.
The variety Emerald Zoysia is more finely textured, dense, dark green turf grass. Emerald was introduced by the USDA and the Georgia Agricultural Station in the mid-90s and is known as the gold standard of grasses. Emerald is both drought resistant and cold tolerant. It’s a slow spreader, but when established it will crowd out weeds. It is also quite resistant to foot traffic. Emerald grows in full sunlight but offers decent shade tolerance.
A popular type of Buffalograss is “609” which is a native blue-green, compact, finely textured, stoloniferous turf. Compared to the variety “Prairie” Buffalograss, 609 is dense and has a richer, color ranking it as a top turf-type Buffalograss in North Texas residential landscapes. Because of a slower growth rate and high drought tolerance, Buffalograss will require less frequent watering than other turf grasses. One disadvantage is that Buffalograss does not tolerate shade well and will require full sun.
There is another variety of Buffalograss, developed out of Lubbock, Texas, called “Turffalo”. It is known to be a thicker and greener turf than the 609. It is sold by trays of plugs instead of buying whole pieces of sod. One drawback is its very steep price; another is a reputation for being slow to spread.
Only one or two grasses for North Texas landscapes will grow in complete shade: Fescue and Bluegrass. The difficulty with Fescue or Bluegrass is that they perform better in cooler climates and will tend to wilt in the middle of the Texas summers. These varieties will bounce back in the fall, but the first few years will require sowing more seed to keep the turf thick. Sowing the Fescue or Bluegrass seed in the fall allows the root system to develop over cooler months before the summer heat arrives. These types of shade grasses will become more heat tolerant and hardy once the grass has been established over a few seasons.
These grasses remain green year round in the Texas climate. They do not go fully dormant. Many might be concerned about having to mow the lawn in the winter months, but this type of grass does not grow that much in the winter even though it stays green.
No One Perfect Grass
Every North Texas lawn will presents its own challenges. Consider your situation and make the best choice for your residential landscape. If you’re not sure what’s best for you, consult with a landscape design professional to review the options and make an informed decision.