By Bob Dailey
There are 4,000,000 acres of turf grass grown in Texas and many species, each with its own characteristics and its own pros and cons. Some are cool-season grasses and they do better in north and northwest Texas. Others, like buffalo grass – although considered a warm-season grass – do not do well in southeast Texas lawns. There are, however, three which grow reasonably well here.
If you’re new to the area, and want to see what Bermudagrass looks like, go to the nearest soccer field. Soccer fields in The Woodlands have two types of surfaces: one is artificial turf. The other is Bermudagrass. The chief advantage of this turf grass is it has few disease or insect problems and it is cold-tolerant. However, the main requirement for Bermudagrass is that it needs full sun.
The disadvantage is that it does not tolerate shade, it turns brown after the first frost and can be a serious nuisance invading flowerbeds and landscape plantings.
Bermudagrass needs about one inch of water a week during the growing season (April-October). That includes rainwater.
St. Augustine grass
St. Augustine is the most commonly used turfgrass in The Woodlands. It is relatively shade-tolerant and may remain green but dormant throughout most winters here. Like Bermudagrass, it does need a lot of water (about one inch a week).
This turfgrass is susceptible to disease and insect damage, its major disadvantage.
Zoysia grass is becoming more and more popular among residents of The Woodlands. It’s almost as shade-tolerant as St. Augustine and has few disease or insect problems, Zoysia also requires much less water than either St. Augustine or Bermudagrass and it tends to be more wear-resistant than either of the two other grasses.
A disadvantage is that it is the earliest turf to turn brown at the first frost. It is also the last to green up in the spring.
When to sod
Although theoretically, all three grasses can be sodded anytime, the very best times to sod are late October and early April. Those months are cooler than our hotter late spring and summer and allow the grass roots more time to grow without the stress of extremes of temperature. April is also the best time to aerate your lawn and add compost to it.