The strong winds and extreme temperatures of West Texas make landscaping and lawn care a challenge. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on what grasses can take from the climate of West Texas.
Questions to ask before deciding on a turfgrass:
- Will the grass you’re planting experience sun or shade?
- Will it be stepped on frequently?
- How much water will be required?
- Seeded or sodded?
Should you seed or sod?
The main difference between seed and sod is that seed has male and female plants, but sod only uses female plants. Horticulture expert Ellen Peffley told the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, “Only when plants have been grown to the flowering stage can plants be distinguished and separated. If a “putting green” clean look is desired, then sodding with all pistillate plants is likely the preferred method.” Seed is cheaper than sod, but it will look unkempt for longer.
How do you handle shady spots on your lawn?
Most turfgrasses that can withstand West Texas need full sun, but one turfgrass grows in the shade: Fescue grass. Many homeowners in the West Texas area seed their grass with a mix of Fescue and Bermuda grass. Fescue can be seeded in shady areas and thrive, while Bermuda can grow to magnificent heights in the sunniest areas of your lawn.
Turfgrass: The best options
Native to the American Plains, buffalo grass was the prime food source of the great herds of American buffalo. Now that settlers no longer make sod houses, buffalo grass grows in lawns across Texas. Homeowners love its blue-green color and fine texture. Because it’s a warm-season perennial grass, buffalo grass can withstand West Texas drought and high temperatures. Mow it at three inches for optimal growth.
The most common grass among Texas homes is bermudagrass. Known for its durability and bright green color, it’s perfect for lawns that get full sun year around. Bermudagrass goes dormant during frosts and isn’t tolerant of shade. Bermudagrass is the most economical of seed grasses and is perfect for high-trafficked yards. If your kids love backyard soccer, bermudagrass is your best bet.
Zoysia grass retains a bright green color even in high West Texas temperatures and only discolors during extreme drought. While soil in West Texas is difficult for most grasses, Zoysia adapts well and can survive in drought because of deep roots that can reach groundwater. It tolerates shade but prefers full sun.
Unlike the other major types of turfgrasses, Fescue grass can survive in shaded areas and prefers shade. This grass thrives in cool weather and must be seeded in the late fall. In shade, it requires the same amount of water as other grasses. In the Lubbock area, Fescue can be seeded for shady areas, while other turfgrasses can fill the parts of your lawn that get direct sun. If you plant Fescue strategically, you can avoid ugly dead spots in your yard in shaded areas.