Life is good in Austin. Located in the heart of Hill Country in Central Texas, Austin is lucky enough to have a temperate (although sometimes balmy) climate almost year round. We’ve also got rolling hills, stunning parks and lakes, and a variety of outdoor wonders. LawnStarter has been mowing lawns in Austin for a little while now, and we’ve learned that many homeowners here would like a beautiful lawn. Some just simply don’t know where to start. Well, which grass type you should plant is a good place to begin. Here, we’ll weigh the positives and negatives of a few different grass types in Austin. Though eventually the decision will be yours, this will be a good (and very brief) guide to your options. Whatever you choose, it’s possible to attain a great lawn with some hard work and good planning (or a call to LawnStarter). Here are a few options to consider:
St. Augustine is probably the most popular type of grass in Austin. It’s also one of the fastest-growing types, and it is one of the most shade tolerant (meaning if you’ve got a shady backyard, this is a good option). It’s also accustomed to warm weather climates, so it does well during those sweltering Austin summers. Some cons are that it requires a lot of maintenance, including 4 fertilizations per year and a lot of irrigation during hot weather. If you don’t mow frequently enough (should be weekly or so), then you’ll risk thatch buildup. Also, it is subject to cultural and pest problems. The best time to plant St. Augustine grass is in early spring, and you’ve got to do so with plugs or sod.
Zoysia grass is absolutely beautiful. But it’s also expensive. Zoysia produces a thick turf and is shade tolerant like St. Augustine. Other than being good lookin’, Zoysiagrass has great wear resistance. It also grows more slowly than St Augustine’s, which means you’ll have to mow less often. However, it takes a long time to establish (1-3 seasons), and has a hard time recovering from damage. It also requires frequent fertilization, maybe even once a month. It has low drought tolerance, which you may want to consider with the past few summer’s we’ve had in Austin. If you do decide to go with Zoysiagrass, it’s recommended that you at least consult a lawn care professional. It’s a tough one to maintain, but if done well, Zoysia grass is magnificent and will surely bring on neighborhood envy.
Buffalograss is a fairly common alternative to the above thirsty grass type. A Texas native turf grass, it is rugged plant common in arid prairie regions that is naturally drought tolerant and disease resistant. Naturally, the big benefit to Buffalograss is that it requires less irrigation, which makes it a great option for Austin homeowners. The grass also grows no more than 5-6 inches, meaning it can’t get too out of hand if you neglect it for a few busy weeks. Overall, not the best looking grass, but it’s excellent if you want to put less time and resources into your lawn, and more of that time into enjoying Austin city life.
Bermudagrass, divided into Improved Bermudagrass and Common Bermudagrass, is also a very common grass type in Austin – maybe the most common in the south. It’s a turf that is well-suited for Central Texas’ warm climate, though it does need to be irrigated quite frequently. It’s a stunning grass plant, and though it’s mostly used on football fields and golf courses, tons of Texas homeowners have it too. Benefits of Bermudagrass, outside of its beauty, include its rugged resilience and disease resistance. One caveat: if you go with Improved Bermudagrass, be prepared for a rigorous maintenance schedule. You’ll likely be fertilizing about once a month, mowing more than once per week on average, and irrigating pretty frequently. It’s also not good to plant in the shade. The best time to plant Bermudagrass is in the spring, but it’s pretty fast establishing, so you can likely plant it from April to September with not much trouble.
Ryegrass is a cool season grass that is primarily used for overseeding (or re-seeding) Austin lawns during the fall/winter. This way, throughout a colder and dry winter, your lawn can remain vibrant, green, and young. In most cases, Ryegrass holds up year-round. It’s used everywhere – from golf courses to soccer fields, parks, and homes – and is a very common complementary grass type. It’s best planted in the fall. There are no real downsides to overseeding with Ryegrass in the winter. Just know that there are two types, perennial and annual. Most commonly, annual is used for re-seeding as it lives only for one season.
There are other grass types found in Austin and Central Texas, but the above five are the most common. You might run across Carpetgrass, though it’s better suited for wetter coastal regions. Tall fescue is also seen once in a while, though it is more common in Dallas and the norther plains of Texas. Centipedegrass is another type that some Austin homeowners opt for, but it’s not as common. When picking a grass type in Austin, it all depends what you’re looking for – aesthetically, maintenance-wise, and practically. Though this is not a comprehensive guide to Austin grass selection, we hope it will get you started on your way to an awesome lawn.