Here in the Lubbock area, growing any kind of green grass is a challenge. We battle intense heat, dry conditions, water restrictions, and even high winds. That is not a good combination if your goal is a healthy, green lawn.
At Ashton Walden Turf Services, we’ve taken the time to get to know each different grass type and have tested them to see where they grow best. Now, our lawn care experts want to share this success with you! Here is a breakdown of the types of grass you’ll find in this area, and a little bit about each one, to help you decide which grass will do well in each part of your property.
Bermuda Grass Is One of the Most Popular Choices
Bermuda grass is a fine bladed, dense textured and dark to medium green grass. It’s a warm season grass which should be seeded when the ground temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to seed your yard with Bermuda grass in the Lubbock area is from the end of May until September 1st.
Bermuda grass is a sun lover and has a good tolerance for the heat. This popular type of grass can be sodded from March to October and is adapted to poor soil conditions, which means it can survive where most grasses struggle.
The list of summer chores usually includes mowing and watering the lawn, but have you heard about dethatching? If you’ve got Bermuda grass on your lawn, it won’t look its best if you’re skipping this particular lawn task!
Thatch, just to clarify, is the layer of dead grass that builds up over the colder months when you’re not out working in your yard. It’s leftover clippings from mowing, dying roots, bits of grass or leaves that have died since your last mow, and other pieces of natural matter that have collected. That layer of organic material can be helpful to your lawn, as it contains nutrients that benefit your grass. However, Bermuda grass needs to be cleared of that layer of thatch, or ‘dethatched’ in order to look its best. Aside from being unsightly, an overly thick layer of thatch on your lawn can lead to disease, weak roots, and can even prevent water or fertilizer from reaching your soil. Thankfully, you only need to worry about dethatching once a year.
Using a thatching rake or a vertical mower, depending on the size of your lawn, dethatch your lawn twice in each direction. For example, start moving East to West, then North to South. After you’ve loosened up the layer of thatch, rake it up and mow the lawn soon after to break up any leftover debris. While smaller lawns can often be handled with a thatching rake, homeowners tackling a larger lawn will definitely want to use a vertical mower. These machines, also known as dethatchers or power rakes, work similarly to a lawn mower and can be rented from your local hardware store.
If you’re interested in having Bermudagrass added to your lawn, or need to know more about the care of Bermudagrass, please feel free to contact us.
Fescue Grass Is a Great Option for Shade
Fescue is a cool season grass which should be seeded from September to November 10th. Because it prefers cooler temperatures, it’s wise to seed your lawn in the fall so it has time to establish itself before the really hot months hit. Many people are afraid of fescue because they assume it requires more water. In full sun, yes fescue will require more water, but that’s why we recommend this type of grass for shadier areas.
In shade, fescue grass will not take any more water than Bermuda requires to look good. In fact, we see people water their Bermuda more in shade trying to salvage it than they would have to if they had fescue. There are some hybrid Bermudas that growers claim grow in shade, but from what we’ve seen, they still need 80%-90% sun.
One of fescue grass’s main traits is that it grows in shady locations where other popular grass choices, such as Bermuda and buffalo grass, typically fail. In the Lubbock area, many homeowners opt to seed their lawns with both fescue grass for shady locations and heat-tolerant Bermuda grass in areas exposed to full sunlight.
This cool-season grass requires fertilization during the fall months since it grows best during the cooler months. Fescue grass does not grow during the heat of summer in the Lubbock area.
If you are planning on seeding a fescue lawn, it should be done during November. This will give the seedlings a chance to establish themselves and grow over the winter and spring months before the brutal heat of summer hits.
Once planted, keep the fescue seeds moist but not overly wet. Ideally, your seedbed should be kept consistently moist for the first 10 to 14 days while the seedlings establish themselves. You might want to cover the seeds with straw to maintain even soil moisture and to prevent possible erosion. After the grass starts to emerge, you won’t need to water as frequently, but you will need to water it deeply at least once a week.
If you’re interested in having buffalo grass added to your lawn, or need to know more about the care of fescue, please feel free to contact us.
Buffalo Grass Can Be Slow to Establish
Buffalo grass is a medium to fine-bladed bunch grass that provides a medium green color. It is also a warm season grass used in lawn, pasture, and turf. Buffalo grass seed is the only grass native to North America that is used widely for turf. It gets its name because it was the principle forage grass for the American bison. Buffalo grass is well adapted to the dryness of our area. It is low maintenance and drought tolerant, but is slow to establish itself.
Native lawns in Lubbock, Texas often display the fine, curly and blue-green leaves of buffalo grass. Buffalo grass produces the most uniform and attractive turf for a Texan lawn. This native grass is a sod-forming variety and utilizes water efficiently. Buffalo grass adapted over thousands of years through prolonged droughts distinctive of the region. Buffalo grass is an ecologically effectual and energy-efficient substitute to conventional turf.
Buffalo grass is Texas’ only truly native turf grass. Its tolerance to extended droughts and to acute temperatures combined with its seed producing attributes allows buffalo grass to endure intense environmental conditions. Overuse or exorbitant traffic are the pressures that lead the depreciation of buffalo grass. In Texas, buffalo grass is often located from the south central region westward to El Paso and north to the High Plains and Rolling Plains. It prefers the heavy clay soils in moderate to low rainfall areas. Buffalo grass is unique to the soils of east Texas and the high rainfall areas of southeast Texas. Buffalo grass begins growing in early May and starts to go dormant in the early autumn. During the growing season leaves are typically blue-green, although there is a great deal of variation between plants coloration and length in size. Buffalo grass does not do well with extensive amounts of shade and does not exist well in sandy soil. It has a very extensive and profound root system and low water use makes it a preferred grass for the Texan drought months. Irrigating in summer months will refrain buffalo grass from going dormant.
Buffalo grass is established from seed or sod. Buffalo grass raised from seed develops into patches of male and female plants. When planting buffalo grass vegetatively, female plants are generally selected since they do not produce the taller unattractive seed stalks. With irrigation, buffalo grass will stay green throughout the spring and summer. One inch of water per week is more than enough to contain a green buffalo grass turf. Without irrigation, buffalo grass will turn brown and dormant during the dry summer months.
Buffalo grass makes it conceivable for many Texans to have high-quality turf that requires little effort as well as less water and fertilizer than the widely cultivated turf grasses. Buffalo grass is well suited to the transition zone of the United States; the locations where often it is too hot for cool-season turf grasses and too cold for warm-season species.
If you’re interested in having buffalo grass put into your lawn, or need to know more about the care of buffalo grass, please feel free to contact us.
Tips for Getting New Grass to Grow
When fertilizing new sod or seed, it is important to use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to prevent burning your lawn. Nitrogen is a salt that draws water away from the seeds. Remember, new seedlings and roots from sod grasses need phosphorus for root growth.
Use products designed for new lawns until the seeds have matured or until the sod has substantially rooted. Water, but don’t overwater. Too much water promotes fungus, bacterial growth, and can harm new and established lawns.
Related Read: What Does a Wet Winter mean for Your Lubbock Area Lawn?
If you want to give green grass a try, call Ashton Walden Turf Services at (806) 632-3571 and we’ll help you pick the best grass for your lawn.