Turfgrass Selection


You may think that all grass in North Texas neighborhoods is just that—grass. It’s green, you mow it and you water it. It’s generic. But you might be shocked to find that there are actually many different types of turfgrass, each possessing its own advantages and disadvantages for thriving in North Texas. Your personal preferences, the characteristics of your property and the way you plan to use your lawn all hold bearing on which grass is right for you. The amount and quality of sunlight your landscape receives, your cities water guidelines and your personal management preferences also play an important role in what turfgrass best suits your needs. Turfgrass types vary in color vibrancy, blade texture and growth rate. Bermuda, Buffalo, St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses are Texas A&M AgriLife – Water University’s favorite warm-season varieties because they are best adapted to the climate and available natural resources of North Texas. Here we will discuss the types of turfgrasses best suited to the region and the best practices for making them thrive.

Understanding Light Conditions

Turfgrass works best in areas that receive full sun, part sun and, in some cases, part shade conditions. Although turfgrass may have once grown well in a certain area, light quantity and quality can change over time, especially in landscapes with maturing trees, shrubs, new buildings or even new fences.

Established turfgrass might grow successfully in these areas for a while but can begin to decline, becoming thinner and less dense as shade encroaches.

Attempting to establish turf in low-light areas is also problematic. Over-watering and/or over-fertilizing are common responses in lower light situations but are typically unsuccessful in regaining turf quality. They can also be detrimental to landscapes and the environment in the long-run. Consider planting alternatives to turfgrass in full shade and dense shade conditions. Refer to Water University’s “Shade Gardening for North Texas” publication for more information.

Light Conditions Defined

Sun Direct sunlight on plant all day
(Buffalograss, Bermuda)
Part Sun Filtered Light, 2-3hrs without direct sun. (Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysias)
Part Shade Dappled Light, 4-5hrs without direct sun.
(St. Augustine, Zoysias)
 Consider alternatives to turf under the following conditions
Full Shade No Direct sunlight on plant all day but may be bright due to reflective light
Dense Shade Deep shade, No direct sunlight all day and may appear dark with minimal to no reflective light.

Turf Types Across North Texas

Trait Bermudagrass Buffalograss St. Augustinegrass Zoysiagrass
Minimum Light Requirement 6-8 Hours 7-8 Hours 5-6 Hours 5-8 Hours
Shade Tolerance Low to Very Low Very Low High High to Moderate
Water Requirement Moderate to Low Very Low Moderate Moderate
Wearability (foot traffic, pets, etc.) High Low Low High to Moderate
Disease Potential Moderate to Low Low High (in shade) Moderate to Low
Mowing Frequency 3-7 days Infrequent 5-7 days 5-10 days
Mowing Height 1-2.5 inches 3-8 inches 2.5-3.5 inches 1-3 inches
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