Our green lawns are one of the first things people see when they pull up to your home. Whether we say so or not, we take pride in having a nice manicured yard with lush green grass. That can all change when the drought hits and your lawn starts to turn brown. Sometimes the greenest grasses turn brown at the slightest sign of drought, and we all want to save water and some money on the monthly bill.
However, there are some species of grass that have been bred over the years to be more and more drought tolerant. The key to having the perfect lawn grass is to find a grass that can survive with little water and grow evenly so your yard can be used as a play area.
Drought Tolerant Grass Varieties for your lawn
The University of Georgia shows that the most drought tolerant grass is a Bermudagrass hybrid called TifTuf followed by Zoysia, other types of Bermuda, and Fescue. Let’s look into the pros and cons of each grass type, as drought resistance may not be ultimately what you’re looking for.
Zoysia – Grass is a warm-season grass that can thrive in sunlight while also tolerating shade. A main reason Zoysia is so popular is its strong root system that can grow in most types of soil – sand, clay, dirt, ect. Where Zoysiagrass fails is growing in cooler temperatures. Lawns in the
Warm Season Drought Tolerant Grass
TifTuf (A Bermudagrass Hybrid) – This variety of bermudagrass is the newest cultivar released by researchers at the University of Georgia after two decades of rigorous testing at research universities across the United States. It sets the new standard for drought tolerant and wear tolerance in cultivated turfgrasses.
Zoysia – Zoysia is such a popular sod choice because once it has taken root it requires very little maintenance. With just a seasonal fertilization schedule your lawn will be green and lush for years to come. Zoysiagrass is a warm-season grass that thrives in southern states with warm temperatures. It also is very sturdy and can withstand traffic well.
Bermuda Grass – Known for its heat tolerance and the ability to withstand heavy traffic, this is one of the most popular turf choices in the south. Bermuda grass can be green all year long when the weather is warm tropical climates. However, it will go dormant when the temperature drops below 60 degrees. You’ll find the grass planted in fields, golf courses, stadiums, and parks.
Cool Season Drought Tolerant Grass
Fescue – When it comes to drought tolerant fescues, look no farther than Tall Fescue. Tall fescue’s are shade-loving, slowing growing and aesthetically pleasing for your lawn. They have a wider leaf than fine fescues and only need to be mowed once every 30 days or so. Not to mention they need less water and nutrients than their other cool season relatives such as perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass.
Prepare your Lawn for a Drought
When you prepare your lawn for a drought there are two periods of time you must focus on – before and during the drought.
Before the Drought
1) Control and Loosen the Thatch in your lawn. What is thatch? Great question!
“Thatch is a loose, intermingled organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface.”
In laymen terms, thatch is the builded in between your grass and the soil beneath it. HGTV wrote a great article on how you can loosen thatch in your yard by yourself. However
2) Water your lawn at night or in the early morning – this lets the water soak in and not evaporate away.
3) Mow often as to only cut off the top ⅓ of your lawn. Your sod will thank you for not cutting it down to the root.
4) After you mow, leave the clippings on the lawn. The clippings provide a ready source of fertilizer while helping the soil retain water which promotes root growth and a healthy lawn.
During the Drought
1) Keepy our mower raised and try to only cut ¼ of the grass each time you mow. You’ll get more exercise, too!
2) Cut down the foot traffic on your lawn. You don’t have to eliminate the use of your lawn, but try to only walk on it when necessary in order to keep it green longer.
3) Focus your watering on heat affected areas. These include – areas near buildings, sidewalks, and high or sloped areas.