Posted on August 31st, 2021
What is the best kind of grass to plant for a dry climate? This is a question that we often get asked at Turf Unlimited, especially with the rise in temperatures each year and customers looking for drought and heat-resistant grass that can survive a sweltering hot summer.
There are several contenders when it comes to selecting the best grass for a hot dry climate. These include:
Cynodon dactylon. More commonly known as Bermuda Grass, this is one of the fastest warm weather grasses and makes for good turf (athletic fields) if mowed correctly and fertilized regularly. It bounces back quickly after a good watering, and it thrives in warm weather. It makes for a good home lawn as it withstands regular traffic.
However, Bermuda Grass is considered a noxious weed in the states of California, Utah, and Arkansas on account of it causing damage to crops like corn, cotton, sugarcane, and vineyards. Perhaps that is why its nickname is also Devil’s Grass.
Bouteloua dactyloides is native to the Midwest and known on the Prairie as Buffalo Grass. It likes full sun and needs hardly any water once it is established. When it comes to selecting the best grass for a hot dry climate, this is a consideration: how long will it take to get established? Once germinated (two to three weeks tops), Buffalo Grass seeds should be fully established and spread throughout the planting area within the first year.
Buffalo Grass needs to be kept five inches long, and it doesn’t like foot traffic. Nor traffic of the hooves of the Buffalo that used to eat it where it grows naturally on the plains from Montana down to Mexico. The best time to plant Buffalo Grass is when your soil has reached at least 55 degrees during the summer months.
Eremochloa ophiuroides, or Centipede Grass, can survive in acidic soil, often near pine trees. It’s a slow-growing grass (hence its name) from Southeast Asia that provides a lawn that is easy to maintain.
It’s found most commonly in sandy soils throughout the Southeast, from the Carolinas to the gulf coast of Texas. It thrives on neglect which sounds nasty to say, and it is medium to light green in color. It also has thick sods, making it a definite contender for the best grass for a hot, dry climate.
Paspalum notatum is known more commonly as Bahia Grass. It has a strong root system that allows it to find water far deeper than other grasses are capable of. It does remarkably well in poor soil, but it does need full sun. It’s resilient to pests, disease, and foot traffic. Bahia Grass is a survivor.
If you were asking yourself, ‘what is the best kind of grass to plant for a dry climate?’, and you were willing to bet on a winner that would survive a harsh drought, then the smart money would be on Bahia Grass.
It has a prominent V-shaped inflorescence consisting of two spike-like racemes containing multiple tiny spikelets. A raceme is a flower cluster with separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem. Which is to say that Bahia Grass also looks pretty.
Stenotaphrum secundatum is known as St. Augustine Grass and is most popular in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Be careful of overwatering it in winter, though, as it is susceptible to disease. It likes dappled shade and not too much foot traffic.
It takes about 14 days for its root to be established. Floratam is the most drought-tolerant variety of this species. St. Augustine Grass will stay green throughout winter without much water.
Zoysia Grass is the scientific name for this slow-growing grass. It’s been in America since 1895 and is often used on golf fairways. There aren’t many associated maintenance costs with Zoysia Grass (though it can get tough to mow), and the finished result is a lush, green carpet of lawn. It can cope with both sun and shade.
Zoysia Grass is a low-growing grass with a soft texture. A downside is that it won’t stay green all year round. It is also more expensive than, say, Bermuda Grass, so this might be a factor for you when considering what is the best kind of grass to plant for a dry climate.
When weighing up your options, it’s worth knowing that you can increase the drought and heat tolerance of any grass by keeping the grass a bit longer to shade the ground beneath it. Nutrient-rich soil also means you can water less frequently but ideally allow for deeper penetration.
If you’re considering a new type of grass for your lawn and are looking for the best grass for a hot, dry climate, then some of the options above will no doubt appeal to you. Consideration should be given to where you are living, as well as what your existing grass situation is.
Turf Unlimited can tackle this challenge with you, as well as offering you lawn care, grub control, core aeration, overseeding, and plant health care. We also offer sprinkler installation and maintenance to go with our hard-earned advice that we are happy to dispense with should you feel the need to give us a call.
Our experienced Turf Unlimited team will soon have your lawn surviving the harshest desert climate conditions – with no hard work required on your part.
Turf Unlimited, Inc has been around for 25 years, and our goal has always been to provide the best products and services with competitive pricing. By understanding our customers’ needs, we have grown our customer base to over 3000 satisfied clients.
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