Blog Post

Selecting the Right Grass for Your Yard

Selecting the proper turfgrass for planting in East Texas can be confusing. The area’s weather varies from humid and rainy to experiencing repeated months of drought. To pick the best option, you will need to consider the adapted grass species (e.g., bermuda grass) while also considering the variety of that species. Climate and conditions are two of the main factors in turfgrass selection. East Texas warm-season grasses typically turn pale and straw-like at the first frost and remain dormant during the winter months. Cool-season grasses do not tolerate our summer heat and high humidity.

Site Conditions to Consider:

• Sun vs. shade ratio (all grass requires a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight)
• Soil depth and quality (at CE Irrigation, we test the soil for our clients free of charge)
• Intended use (recreational, aesthetic purposes, etc.)
• Amount of foot traffic
• Amount of rainfall or irrigation system
• Level of maintenance

Once these guidelines have been established, the next step would be to properly prepare the soil before installing the sod. Establishing a good lawn maintenance program for mowing, fertilizing, and weed control will give your new grass the best chance of growing healthy and strong.
Seed stores and garden centers may only carry a limited variety of turfgrass. A benefit of using a professional company to select and install your sod includes the ability to source a wider variety of species.

Bermuda grass is a drought-tolerant species that requires full sun and stands up to foot traffic. Some varieties do not produce seed and can only be established from sod. There are many hybrid options that can provide a denser, darker leaf with a finer texture. Hybrids can also withstand harsher conditions like sandy soil common to this area. However, several of these are higher maintenance and need more frequent mowing and fertilizer. Most of the time, hybrids are used on golf courses and sports fields rather than residential lawns.

Buffalo grass does best in full sun with very little shade tolerance. While Buffalograss is considered low maintenance, it cannot thrive in areas with too much rainfall as it gets easily overtaken by weeds and more invasive grasses.

Centipede grass performs well in full sun to light shade but suffers under prolonged drought conditions, typically requiring an irrigation system. It requires little fertilizer and infrequent mowing, making it a popular choice, but does not thrive under foot traffic. It performs well in acidic soil, which is something to consider here in East Texas.

Seashore Paspalum does not fare well in prolonged low temperatures, making it suitable for areas closer to the Gulf Coast. Its tolerance of both water and soil salinity makes it a popular choice for golf course fairways and recreational sport fields.

St. Augustine grass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season turfgrass. However, several varieties are the least drought-tolerant and require supplemental irrigation in most of East Texas. It does not do well under heavy foot traffic and must be established from sod. If winters are severe with repeat freezes, St. Augustine grass will die off. One of the major problems with St. Augustine grass is clay soil compaction.

Zoysia grass is typically a slow-growing, drought- and cold-tolerant species. Depending on the variety (there are at least 11 to choose from), it has a light to moderate shade tolerance, making it a favorite for recreational areas with moderate foot traffic. Zoysia is often described as “thick” and “comfortable” to sit and play on. It does best when established from sod and requires warm, well-prepared soil to flourish.

In conclusion, if you have a shady area, St. Augustine would be the best choice followed by Zoysia and Centipede. Avoid Bermuda grass.

Don’t have an irrigation system? Consider Bermuda grasses as they are the most drought-tolerant. Keep in mind, all grass still needs to be watered occasionally.

The lowest maintenance grasses are Zoysia, Centipede, and Bermuda grass. Bermuda and Zoysia tolerate the most foot traffic. As you can see, there is no “one size fits all” approach to selecting the right grass for your lawn. Such a significant investment can be guided by our expert team at Cutting Edge Irrigation. We do it all, from testing the soil and preparing the yard to installing irrigation and sod. We will then maintain your new lawn with our annual lawn maintenance program. Get a gorgeous, lush lawn today. We offer financing and competitive pricing.