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If you want to be more responsible when it comes to water conservation, it’s highly recommended to consider the type of grass used for your lawn. This is especially true if you live in a warm climate where dry summers are very frequent. Turf lawns can consume vast amounts of water regularly to maintain their beautifully green appearance. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like this if you choose a type of grass that’s better suited to resist strong heat and periods of drought.
Although drought-tolerant grasses still have some important water requirements to keep in mind, they should be able to better withstand the effects of the dry season. The right grasses you select for your lawn can help you reduce water use which also translates to fewer hassles maintaining the yard green. Whether your municipality has imposed tighter water restrictions or you simply don’t like the idea of spending a lot of time watering the lawn, check out these heat and drought-tolerant grasses. These are the best options if you still prefer conventional verdant lawns. Alternatively, consider some grass substitutes to fight the dry season in a different way.
Thanks to its excellent heat tolerance and slow-growing abilities, Zoysia grass is one of the best options to consider in dry regions. The fact that it doesn’t grow fast means you don’t need to cut the grass on your lawn as often which translates to hassle-free maintenance. Although it takes some time for it to become established, Zoysia grass will produce a beautiful green carpet that’s suitable for foot traffic.
When it comes to water requirements, Zoysia grass stands out compared to other lawn grasses. You can maintain its natural beauty with less than one inch of water supplied every week. If drought periods take longer than a few weeks, this grass will go dormant for some time to increase its chances of survival. Damaged turf can be repaired through its rhizomes.
2. Tall Fescue
Tall fescue grass is recommended if you live in a cool-season climate that experiences drought. This dark green grass features low water requirements thanks to its ability to conserve moisture. Compared to other lawn grasses, tall fescue is able to reach deeper sources of water through its long roots. Pick a dwarf variety of this grass if you’re interested in drought resistance performance.
When it comes to its aesthetic qualities, tall fescue grass won’t disappoint. It features a coarser texture than other grasses and needs regular mowing if you wish to enjoy the most attractive look expected for a traditional lawn design. In terms of traffic tolerance, tall fescue is a solid grass to try. The only notable disadvantage is that this grass requires heavy seeding.
Whereas other lawn grasses can get damaged after prolonged exposure to intense sunlight, bermudagrass can actually thrive in full sun. This is a recommended type of grass for any homeowner looking for drought resistance and good traffic tolerance. Even if you forget to water your bermudagrass lawn during a dry period, the plant can be easily revived by adding moisture.
Bermudagrass is an excellent heat-tolerant grass for your lawn but it’s not as easy to maintain as others. It’s worth mentioning that it requires fairly frequent mowing to keep a desirable appearance. Just 1.25 inches of weekly water is enough to ensure that your bermudagrass lawn remains healthy and green. The roots of this grass extend deep underground to enhance survivability in the driest summers.
If you’re interested in a native grass to use on your lawn, buffalograss could be an excellent choice due to its natural drought resistance. It’s mostly adapted to the climate of the Great Plains but buffalograss can perform quite well in drier regions as well. Another notable advantage of this grass is that it’s not typically affected by pests and diseases.
When it comes to visual appeal, buffalograss offers an attractive blue-tinged green shade while the finer textures can easily improve the look of any lawn. Intense heat can be damaging to buffalograss turning it brown. However, watering can easily rejuvenate this grass back to its healthy look. Maintaining a buffalograss lawn is relatively easy but it’s important to mention that this grass isn’t as tolerant to foot traffic as others.
5. Kentucky Bluegrass
While it requires a bit more water than other grasses on this list, Kentucky Bluegrass is still a great pick if you’re worried about drought tolerance. This grass isn’t ideal for areas with hot summers but can thrive in more temperate climates where you also need to worry about freezing winter days. As its name suggests, this type of lawn grass offers a blue-green color for its leaves.
Kentucky Bluegrass offers reasonable tolerance when it comes to heat and drought. It features underground rhizomes that will quickly take care of turf damage. A great advantage of this grass is the ability to produce a nice green carpet despite poor soil quality. However, less fertile soils can weaken drought tolerance and increase watering requirements.
6. St. Augustine Grass
With the help of its reliable above-ground stems, St. Augustine grass is able to face extended periods of drought better than other lawn grasses. It takes only around one inch of weekly water to cover the moisture requirements of this grass. The St. Augustine species offers self-repair abilities in case of turf damage while performing best in warm climates without cold winters.
This grass can also tolerate some amount of shade which could be helpful for certain yards. Waterlogged or compacted soil can affect the growth of St. Augustine grass. As opposed to other lawn grasses, this plant is more sensitive to excessive moisture. Make sure you don’t go overboard when handling irrigation during dry spells because there’s a risk of encouraging the appearance of diseases.
Fairly widespread in the Southeastern parts of the US, bahiagrass shouldn’t be overlooked if you prioritize heat and drought resistance. This type of coarse-textured grass doesn’t feature lots of leaves but it’s easier to grow in warm climates compared to other options. Poor soils are well tolerated by bahiagrass and the potential for disease is quite low as well.
Bahiagrass can enter a state of dormancy in a severe drought. It might look like your lawn is dying as the grass blades gain an unsightly brown color. However, proper irrigation will quickly restore this grass’ natural beauty. Bahiagrass isn’t recommended for yards that see a lot of foot traffic. It will also underperform in shady areas.
8. Blue Grama
There are lots of great grass options when it comes to native grass featuring drought resistance. A notable example is blue grama which is commonly found in the wild prairies of North America. It’s somewhat similar to buffalograss when it comes to its ability to tolerate heat but it’s not a great solution for high foot-traffic lawns.
Blue grama grass grows quite slowly making it a recommended choice for a low-maintenance grass. The addition of cold tolerance is a nice feature that could come in handy for many homeowners living in temperate regions. In terms of water needs, blue grama isn’t very fussy as it can handle sparse irrigation. It could be a good idea to combine blue grama with buffalograss to ensure even coverage in arid climates.