By: Dawn Hammon
You may not know that different types of grasses require varying amounts of water to sustain themselves. Not only is there a large variation in the ideal amount of water the different varieties need, but some species are also better able to rebound from drought conditions so they are more forgiving of your lack of attention. Selecting grasses with a low water requirement makes better use of your time, money, and resources (water savings). Here are the most commonly available water-saving grass options you may want to consider for your yard.
Fescue is a category of grasses that include water-resistant properties. Look for red fescue, fine fescue, and tall fescue, or a combination of them that matches the environment in your area. Fescues are forgiving of soil conditions, handle dehydration with grace, and tolerate shade better than most.
Bermuda grass is ideally suited for hot and arid days because it prefers full sun to maintain peak growth. Roots can burrow as deep as 6’ making it fairly self-sufficient in seeking out water. Bermuda grass is often found on sports fields because of its ability to rebound from traffic and damage. Unlike other grasses, bermuda is also salt-tolerant for those who live near the ocean or other salty environment. However, it is not a fan of shady locations.
3. Kentucky Bluegrass
Kentucky bluegrass is not the most drought-tolerant option but it is very well adapted to recovery from harsh conditions. Through self preservation, bluegrass will go dormant in extreme heat, but live to come back another season.
Like bluegrass and fescue, ryegrass is a cool season grass best suited for the northern part of the country. There are different types of ryegrass with different qualities and, like other options, works best as a combination with other seed types to accentuate each characteristic.
Like the buffalos that used to roam free, buffalo grass thrives in a range of weather conditions west of the Mississippi river. Seen from the Dakotas to Texas, buffalo grass can tolerate both winter whether and some summer heat. It is not, however, a fan of heavy rain. Buffalo grass prefers clay soil. It grows lower and slower than other varieties and remains dormant from early fall well into spring.
Another desirable drought-tolerant option, zoysia grass does not require a lot of fertilizer, but it does grow slower than other varieties of grass, such as bermuda. It is also inclined to turn brown and move into dormancy if it doesn’t receive the water it needs, however it is a quick-rebounding variety.
7. St. Augustine
For a thick-bladed option, consider the forgiving St. Augustine grass that you find across the deep south because of its drought-tolerant nature. This type of grass is unforgiving of cold temperatures and will turn brown at the first sign of a temperature drop.
Another course-blade option, Bahia thrives in areas with less than ideal soil. Although it doesn’t offer the soft traditional lawn look, it is highly drought tolerant and requires little care.
- Match the grass you choose to the region where you live. While one variety might require little water in the mild climate of Idaho, it may suffer through a summer in Arizona.
- The reason these grasses require less water than other varieties is that they grow deep roots that tap into groundwater well below the surface. To allow the roots to fully develop make sure you have prepared the area with loose soil prior to planting.
- The best grass might be a combination of seeds. Eco-lawn and Pearl’s Premium are two brands of carefully cultivated low-water varietals to consider for your lawn needs.
Originally published at www.doityourself.com.