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Choosing the Optimum Grass for Texas Lawns

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Making a grass selection for a new Texas lawn is easy.  Most experts agree in the six major turf types for the most sturdy and reliable grasses in the Lone Star State. The problem is that there can be as many as 150 varieties within each of the grass types. Let's have a look at the major warm-season candidates: St. Augustine, Bermuda, Buffalo, Centipede, Tall Fescue, and Zoysiagrass.

St. Augustine is a favorite warm-season grass for new Texas lawns. It has a high tolerance for shade, and a medium to modest water requirement for success. On the minus side, if you have a lot of barbecue action or child's play on your lawn, St. Augustine grass won't hold up well under heavy wear. And St. Augustine grass is highly susceptible to lawn disease.
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Bermuda grass offers different turf challenges. It has a very low tolerance for shade, can be very resilient to wear and tear, but requires more frequent watering than a St. Augustine lawn. Buffalo grasses offer a mid-range balance to the other lawn types.  Buffalo is reasonably tolerant to shade, requires less water than any of the types surveyed here, and holds up under medium-to-heavy traffic.

Looking at Centipede, Tall Fescue, and Zoysiagrass

Centipede lawns are just barely tolerant of shade and traffic. Often, Texas homeowners will use a turf blend combining centipede grass with a sturdier fescue. Tall Fescue is a champ. It's reasonably tolerant of wear and tear, has a high tolerance for shade, and doesn't require as much water as most grasses. If you're choosing fescue, you may want to check with a local lawn care service to see which of the more than 120 Texas varieties of fescue works best in your neighborhood.

Zoysiagrasses (japonica and matrella) offer generally good tolerance to footfall and shade. The japonica variety requires less mowing than other zoysiagrass varieties, if ease in maintenance is one of your governing factors.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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