AUSTIN (KXAN) — With so many new residents relocating to Central Texas each year, many might come from milder climates without triple-digit summer temperatures. As so many new homes are built each year, which grasses are most optimal for properties in Central Texas?
Michele Piwonka, head of customer relations and social media marketing at The Grass Outlet, told KXAN there are two grass types most ideal for Texas’ drought conditions: the Tifway 419 Bermudagrass and the Celebration Bermudagrass.
[The Tifway 419 and Celebration Bermudagrasses] are going to be the most drought-tolerant,” she said, adding: “Celebration Bermuda does need at least six hours of full sun, and Tifway needs eight. So if [the homes] have shade, they’re going to want to do one of the Zoysias — either the Palisades or Zeon.”
While this summer has been extremely toasty here in Central Texas, Piwonka said it’s actually not quite as bad a year for grass as last year. Some residents have reached out concerned about brown patches; she reassured that it’s a common sight, given Texas’ climate.
“Grass just goes dormant. Warm-season grasses go dormant when it’s too hot,” she said. “As long as they water — usually every seven to 10 days, depending on the variety — it’ll survive, and it will come out of it when temperatures kind of cool down.”
Elsewhere in Texas, Piwonka said St. Augustine is typically a popular grass type, especially for shaded yards. It is drought-resistant, but she added it does go dormant and loses its color faster than other varieties.
At The Grass Outlet, she said all the grass types the business carries are hybrids.
“They’re basically made to withstand either heat or drought, shade or both,” she said. “None of our grasses are really native. Buffalo would be the closest to a native grass, but it also needs full sun.”
Her biggest key to maintaining grass is to water smartly and not overuse water, especially amid drought conditions and water restrictions.
“Depending on your grass and how healthy it is going into the summer, you’re probably going to have to let it go dormant when it’s this hot for extended periods without rain,” she said. “Don’t water 15-20 minutes every day or every other day. You want to water deeply — every five to seven days, or 10 days for Bermudas.”
What are some tips to help keep your grass alive in the summertime?
Amid sweltering heat, lawn care business LawnStarter listed its top tips for summertime lawn TLC.
- Don’t mow during the heat of the day: It’s always recommended to mow earlier in the morning or later in the evening, closer to sunset
- Don’t water during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, it’s recommended to water early in the morning or late in the evenings/overnight, as permitted by local water restrictions. Watering early will help retain as much moisture and limit it from evaporating in the heat. Watering for longer durations and less frequently “will cause the root system to grow deeper because it will become acclimated to accessing moisture from deeper in your soil.”
- Don’t apply fertilizer or large amounts of nutrients to grass during the summer season, especially during the hottest times of the year. That fertilizer and excess nutrients will “fry your grass.” Instead, prioritize fertilizing in the fall and in the spring, to prepare for the winter and summer months.
- Treat dry and brown spots: Some Dawn dish soap or baby shampoo can help loosen soil that, if impacted, can contribute to dry and brown spots, per LawnStarter. Outside of extreme heat, other causes of brown spots can include poor pH levels, fungal diseases, animal waste and lawn pests.
- Inspect your sprinklers to make sure your irrigation system is covering all aspects of your lawn equally.
“If you notice certain areas having difficulty staying green, leave an empty tuna can in the dry area overnight or for a watering cycle and see how much water the area is getting compared to greener spots,” said Justin Stultz, owner of Wildflower Lawn Care Co. in Hutto, to LawnStarter.
- Stay on top of lawn pest maintenance: Common summer pests include grubs, fire ants, armyworms and mole crickets, among others. Using a curative pesticide in late summer — once the eggs have hatched — can do the trick.
- Test your soil to see if any substantial nutrient deficiencies could be impacting your lawn. Applying liquid foliar on the leaves of grass in the evening “should deliver nutrients with plenty of time to dry before the next day’s heat.”
- Aerating your lawn in the early spring can help your grass weather the summer heat more efficiency. Aeration is essentially pulling up little dirt plugs throughout your lawn to relieve pressure in the soil and allow water, air and nutrients to seep in.