Choosing the Best Grass Type for Dallas-Fort Worth
Growing grasses that need less water and less upkeep is essential for a well-maintained lawn.
Posted: January 02, 2018 at 12:00 AM by Josh Arnold
Finding a grass type that will grow in the heat and cold of Dallas-Fort Worth can sometimes be a problem if you don’t know where to look. Growing grasses that need less water and less upkeep is essential for a well-maintained lawn.
Climate and Grass
When you grow grass in North Texas, it can be a challenge. Grass types fall into two categories: cool season and warm season. So, what’s planted for the cool season won’t grow well in the warm season, and the opposite is true for warm season grasses. Because the summer has extreme temperatures and the winters can freeze, there isn’t any turf that will be green all year.
The difference in temperatures is one issue and shade can be the other one. Some grasses will grow in sunlight and some in the shade, but if you have too much shade, the lawn won’t grow where the shade is too deep. Shade will block sunlight and lower air temperature in that area. A solution for this problem is to plant a mixture of grasses, one type for sunny areas, and one type for shade. This can also work for the cool and warm season as well.
Another problem in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is water restrictions. In some locations, lawns can only be watered twice a week. Watering too much or too little can cause problems with lawns. Also, if you have a sloped lawn, then you’ll have a run-off; if your soil is compacted, then the water won’t absorb. If the sunlight is intense, then your lawn could be scorching under the sun and then drowning when you water it.
From 2004 to 2011, outdoor water usage accounted for an average of 37 percent of all the water used by single-family households. With the outdoor water usage being decently high, it’s clear that lawn care is a regularity. You’ll want to be smart about the way you water with such restrictions, depending on the municipality. A lawn usually only needs about an inch of water a week. So, it could be watered as one inch once a week or a half-inch biweekly.
Image source: LawnStarter Lawn Care Service
There are some grasses that will grow in the Hardiness Zone 8a-8b of Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are the best grass types suited for North Texas and some information about them:
As seen in the chart above, Bermuda is the most popular grass type in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Bermuda grass is a warm season grass and can be planted from seeds easily. It’s simple to maintain and durable with regular amounts of mowing. It’s drought resistant, low growing, tolerates salt, and grows in different types of soil. Bermuda grass forms a dense turf of dark green sod. The downside is that it can be invasive once established and difficult to remove. It can cover a lawn entirely within one year and be established within 90 days.
This grass can grow in moderate shade, but dense shade causes it to become spindly and thin out. It stands up to both the heat and cold and will tolerate a temperature 10 degrees lower than Bermuda grass will. The downside is that St. Augustine can’t start from seeds and needs to be established from sod.
This native grass is the only one in the Southern United States. It likes heavy clay soil and can tolerate high temperatures and a prolonged drought. It does well in areas of low rainfall and infrequent but thorough watering. It’s a soft blue-green color, has fine curly texture, and thin turf. Buffalo grass grows to about 8 to 10 inches tall, which makes mowing easier. It’s also highly resistant to insects and diseases. Plant Buffalo grass in April and May for best results; if there’s irrigation, it can be planted into July and August.
Rye grass can be sown without tilling, which makes it a “throw and grow” type of grass. It will grow in just about any soil, germinates fast, and it’s great for lawns and pastures. Rye is also resistant to insects and diseases. When warm season grasses go dormant, rye can be seeded over the summer grass. To make it establish faster, apply fertilizer and water before and after it is sown. Rye will need to be reseeded each year; it grows short and not too dense, which gives a lawn a uniform look.
This is a cool season grass that can be used to over seed warm season grasses. It’s shade tolerant, stays green all year, and it’s shade tolerant. Instead of turning a muddy brown in the winter, fescue just turns a paler shade of green when it goes dormant. It’s a tough grass that can withstand heavy foot traffic and doesn’t form thatches.
You can use sod to cover your lawn instead of planting grass seed. The thing to remember is that sod is perishable and there are two rules to keep in mind when planting sod:
- Plant your sod as quickly as possible. You need to plant your sod the day it arrives. If not, it could start to dry out.
- Keep it wet. Sod can’t be overwatered the first few days after it’s installed.
Also, you can plant sod year around; however, it grows best in the spring and summer — when it’s planted in the winter, it won’t grow a complete root system. Plus, sod won’t spread, but it is safe to plant — it will just sit there. You also need to water the lawn weekly if it hasn’t rained during the week.
Even in the heat of Texas, you can have a lush, beautiful lawn if you grow the right grass for your area.
Ashley Miller is a home decor and lifestyle writer who cures her HGTV obsession by refurbishing anything and everything she can get her hands on into something new.