Choosing the best grass depends on several factors such as desired look, the amount of shade available, upkeep, cost, etc. Of course if you are filling in existing grass, you would always choose to match the existing grass. Let's examine the 3 most popular types of turf that best fit Houston's southeast Texas climate (St. Augustine, Bermuda, & Zoysia) and weigh the pros and cons.
St. Augustine Grass
- Medium to dark green color
- Spreads by aboveground runners (known as stolons) and forms thick, dense turf.
- Low, dense growth habit
- Seed isn’t available, so plant this turf vegetatively with sod, sprigs or plugs.
- - Aggressive; Spreads rapidly
- - If managed properly, St. Augustine grass forms a dense cover that handles light traffic and competes well with most weeds.
- - Grows well in nearly all soil types
- -Tolerates some shade, heat, salt, and to some degree drought.
- - Low tolerance of high traffic
- - Does not tolerate waterlogged soils
- - Cannot thrive in extended periods of cold weather (below 10 degrees F)
- - Requires more mowing because it is a rapidly growing grass
- - Susceptible to iron deficiency and becomes chlorotic (marked by yellowing or blanching) in iron deficient or alkaline soils
- - Susceptible to infestation by many pests and diseases.
- It’s fine-textured and the undisputed favorite for golf courses in warm areas
- May be planted with either seed, sprigs, or sod.
- - Fast growing and spreads rapidly by stolons and rhizomes (underground stems).
- -Extra-tough variant of grass and withstands high traffic
- -Drought and salt resistant and grows in many soils
- - Produces unsightly seed heads
- - Poor shade tolerance
- - High Maintenance
- - Should be reduced to height on 1" - 1 &1/2" which is really only accomplished effectively by using a reel mower, otherwise a traditional lawn mower may scalp the turf. To prevent scalping with a traditional lawn mower you should raise the level of the cutting blade, which wouldn't allow you to get that low to the ground, even cut.
- - Since it grows with rhizomes and stolons, each time you mow, the clippings could turn into a new plant and creep unwantedly into flowerbeds and gardens.
- -Susceptible to infestation by a wide range of insects and fungi
- Fine to medium textured, summer growing grass
- Forms dense lawns
- Although it can be planted by seed, it's best planted vegetatively by sod, sprigs or plugs.
- - May be the most aesthetically pleasing
- - Once established becomes an easy, low-maintenance lawn
- - Thrives is both acid and alkaline conditions
- - Adaptable to wide range of soil types from sand to clay
- - Drought tolerant because it has a deep root system that is capable of extracting moisture from soil in extreme conditions. However it can turn off it's green color if it goes long periods without irrigation
- -Tolerates some shade
- - Withstands high traffic wear and close mowing well
- - The more expensive variety when compared to the other 2 turf species
- - It is a slow growing grass that spreads by stolons and rhizomes
- -Great warm weather grass, but during the cold weather it goes dormant and becomes brown
- - Once established, mowing with a traditional lawn mower can prove difficult due to the toughness of the stems and leaves
**Articles of Interest: AgriLife’s Dallas center releases new water-efficient turfgrass and Texas Turfgrasses - Identification & Selection