The hot and dry weather in Santa Ana presents unique challenges for landscaping. Water Smart landscapes can incorporate a number of plants, artificial turf, structures, and some grasses. Within the confines of Santa Ana’s water restrictions, it is possible to have a beautiful and diverse yard if you plant one of the three best grass types.

1. Bermudagrass

Developed specifically for California, the Santa Ana variety of Bermudagrass is the most drought-tolerant. It also has a short dormancy period. With a deep blue-green color and a medium-fine texture, Santa Ana bermudagrass is an ideal choice for residential and commercial lawns.

Classification: Warm-season grass.

Spreads by: Stolons; a high density provides great growth and self-repair.

Shade tolerance: This turf requires full sun all throughout the day.

Drought tolerance: Adapted to little or irregular irrigation. Santa Ana Bermudagrass stays green much longer than other varieties of drought-tolerant turf.

Foot traffic tolerance: With quick recovery from stress and damage, this variety does well with heavy foot traffic.

Maintenance needs: Santa Ana Bermudagrass grows well in all types of soil and thrives in hot climates. It is a low-maintenance variety.

Recommended mowing height: A reel-type mower is best to maintain a height of about 1-inch. Above 1¼-inches, this variety becomes puffy.

2. Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu grass does well within 50 miles of the ocean. Producing hairy, coarse-texture blades, Kikuyu grass has a light green color.

Classification: Warm-season grass.

Spreads by: This turf spreads aggressively with thick stolons and rhizomes.

Shade tolerance: Sun-loving, Kikuyu grass only tolerates some shade.

Drought tolerance: This turf does well in drought conditions.

Foot traffic tolerance: The rapid growth means that this variety recovers well from stress, and is a good option for busy spaces.

Maintenance needs: This thick grass can be difficult to mow and is prone to heavy thatch. It can also act as an aggressive weed, growing into unwanted spaces.

Recommended mowing height: Often planted on golf courses, you should trim Kikuyu grass short. A height of 1½-inches is ideal, and it should not exceed 2-inches.

3. Zoysiagrass

With a light to medium green throughout much of the year, Zoysiagrass is a nice compliment to other landscaped elements. This turf produces finely textured leaves and thick growth.

Classification: Warm-season grass.

Spreads by: Zoysia spreads via both above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes.

Shade tolerance: This variety prefers full sun and can grow in only light shade.

Drought tolerance: Highly drought-tolerant, Zoysiagrass is a good option for areas with water restrictions. In dry periods, this turf will turn a straw color but will rebound well when conditions improve.

Foot traffic tolerance: With a dense, carpet-like growth, Zoysiagrass handles heavy use and play.

Maintenance needs: Requires moderate maintenance. You’ll need to fertilize it twice a year, and you may have to add nitrogen during the growing season.

Recommended mowing height: Weekly mowing to a height of 1-2 inches is ideal for this variety of grass.

Other grass varieties will work throughout Santa Ana, including dichondra, fescues, and bentgrass. Each has its drawbacks concerning irrigation and maintenance, but might be good options for smaller spaces.

Need help preparing your lawn? Visit our Santa Ana care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Santa Ana, we provide lawn care services in other California cities, including Huntington Beach and Anaheim.

“Old Orange County Courthouse, Santa Ana, California 3” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0