Now that we’re nearing time for spring landscaping in Austin, it is prime time to start developing your 2015 lawn care plan. No one said it was easy to have a beautiful lawn, but a little bit of knowledge and work ethic can go a long way. First thing is first, though: which type of grass should you plant? We wrote an article a little while back about the different grass types in Austin, but for this article, we’ll go more into the differentiating characteristics so you can identify and choose your turf wisely.
Austin, TX Grass Types
Being in Central Texans, Austin is deep within warm grass country. This means that because of our relatively year round warm weather, we’ll be choosing from a stricter selection of grass types. These grass types will have better heat and drought resistance (for the most part) and will be better adapted to hot climates (which will come in handy during those 100+ degree streaks June-September). Here are our choices:
St. Augustine is probably the most popular of the Austin grass types, and it’s also one of the quickest growing. It’s the most shade tolerant, as well, and does well in warm climates. The only cons are that it requires a lot of maintenance, and if you don’t mow frequently enough you can risk thatch buildup.
How to identify: St. Augustinegrass is has a medium density and medium to dark green color. People often confuse Centipedegrass with St. Augustine, but while both leaf blades are V-shaped in cross section, St. Augustinegrass’s leaf blades have a boat-shaped tip.
Zoysiagrass is one of the most beautiful grass types in Austin, but it’s very expensive and high-maintenance. Though it grows more slowly than St Augustine, it produces a nice thick turf and is very shade tolerant.
How to identify:
Zoysiagrass is very unique in that it has neither auricles nor sheaths. Its blades are short and sharp, and its texture is fine.
Buffalograss is a common alternative to the above grass types, mainly because it does not require as much water as the others. In our drought laden county, this is important. Buffalograss is native to Texas, and it’s commonly found in arid prairie regions without much precipitation. It’s pretty low-maintenance and will allow you to spend more time enjoying that one-of-a-kind Austin lifestyle.
How to identify: The leaves of buffalo grass are fine, curly, and blue-green in color. Here is a great guide and history on buffalo grass from Texas A&M.
You’ll know ryegrass if you’ve ever gotten your lawn overseeded (or re-seeded). This is a cool season grass that is rarely if ever used as the primary seed in an Austin lawn. However, it is wonderful for overseeding in the fall/winter to keep your grass green year round. There are two types of ryegrass: perennial and annual. In Austin, we use annual as we only need it for one season.
How to identify: Ryegrass is a finely textured, rich green grass type. Its leaf is folded in the bud, while the leaf margins are parallel.