Best Lawn Grass for the Houston Area
It comes as no surprise to locals that Houston is squarely in the middle of a warm climate zone. Specifically, it’s in Zone 9, which stretches across the South. When it comes to grasses, any lawn that’s in climate Zone 9 or above will do best with warm season grasses, and Houston’s no exception.
A Note About Cold Season Grass
What does make Houston unique, however, is its proximity to the Gulf. All that water gives Houston plenty of rain, and can produce temperatures in the 40s during the winter with a handful of freezing days. As a result, some cold season grass can be a good idea to make sure that your lawn looks its best all year round.
St. Augustine Varieties
This hardy warm season grass thrives in sandy soil, which is why you’ll find it all along the Gulf Coast and across the South. There are several different varieties that grow well in the Houston climate, from the fine-leafed palmetto variety to the coarse floratam variety. All of them do well with the hot summer temperatures. They can tolerate shade, but do best with plenty of sunshine. Different varieties have different resistance to pests and disease, so if you’re having trouble with pests like cinch bugs, you may want to switch to a hardier variety.
Bermuda has a reputation as the South’s Grass, and is one of the most widely-planted grasses among the Southern states. You can expect a medium to fine texture from Bermuda that forms a dense turf with a good amount of drought resistance. It also has a good salt resistance, which works well with Houston’s environment, and can recover quickly.
Special attention should be paid to the variety you choose with Bermuda. While common Bermuda is the most widely used, there are a couple specialty varieties that flourish in Houston. For example, the Texturf Ten variety was developed and released by Texas A&M. It’s more lush than common Bermuda, and doesn’t produce a seed head.
While not as popular as Bermuda and St. Augustine, Zoysia grass can be a great choice for Houston lawns. It has a high tolerance for wear and salt while being relatively low maintenance. While St. Augustine and Bermuda thrive in direct sunlight, Zoysia grasses do better in shade. They’re also disease and insect resistant, a combination that makes it popular for out of the way locations.
Houston lawns will always be dominated by warm season grasses, but don’t underestimate this cool season grass. You’ll usually find it overseeded on lawns that already have thick warm season turfs. When the winter makes St. Augustine or Bermuda hibernate, ryegrass is just getting going. When mixed in and cared for correctly, the combination can give you a lawn that looks great all year round.