Best Grass for San Antonio

San Antonio experiences warm and temperate climatic conditions throughout the year. The city being in South Texas, U.S.A, gets only 32.91 inches of water annually. As such it has a hot and dry weather conditions, therefore warm-season grasses are the best turf to grow in San Antonio lawns.

 So, what types of warm-season grasses should I get for San Antonio yard?

Best Grass for San Antonio

Warm-season grasses have numerous species adapted to survive differently in the southern U.S.A. Only a few species are cultivated in San Antonio. If you grow the wrong grass on your lawn, it will die off soon.

Below are the best types of grass that thrive in San Antonio.

Grass-typeMain features
1.BermudaSod forming spreads by stolon, rhizomes, and seeds. Thrives in all fertile soil types.
The optimum temperature is 75oFRequires full sun.
Doesn’t tolerate shadeTolerates heavy traffic.
Resistant to pests and diseases.
Drought resistant.
Mow height is1 ½ inches.
2. St. AugustineSod, sprigs, and plugs forming.
The most shade tolerant.
Requires full sun.
The optimum temperature is 85oF-95oF.
Susceptible to Iron deficiency. Drought tolerant
i. St. Augustine RaleighSod forming spreads by stolon.
Requires full sun.
Tolerates partial shadeTolerates low traffic.
Susceptible to chin bugs and brown patches most cold-tolerant warm-season grass.
Drought-tolerant.
Requires ¾ inches of water in Summer 
ii. St. Augustine FloratamSod and plug forming resistant to chin bugs and brown patches.
Requires full sun exposure.
Tolerates partial shade.
Tolerates moderate cold.
Tolerates moderate traffic.
Drought resistant.
Requires ¾ inches of water in Summer 
3. ZoysiaSod forming spreads by stolons and rhizomes.
Grows slowly.
Drought-tolerant.
Requires full sun.
Tolerates partial shadeTolerates heavy traffic.
Resistant to pests and diseases.
The optimum temperature is 65oF.
The mowing height is 2 inches. 
4. Buffalo grassGrows slowly.
Tolerates high traffic.
Thrives in heavy clay soils.
Requires full sun exposure.
Requires low maintenance.
Susceptible to pests and diseases.
The most drought tolerant.

1. Bermuda grass

This species is the most popular in Texas. It forms a dense layer resembling a carpet when well-manicured, making it more attractive.

This turf has 50 varieties, but the common Bermuda grass, otherwise Dactylon Cynodon, is the most widespread across the tropical and subtropical regions.

Bermuda grass can be a tough weed in most gardens. It forms sods and spreads by stolons, rhizomes, and seeds.

This turf grows best in all fertile soils, acidic and alkaline conditions, and requires 25 inches of water annually. If the water supply is below 20 inches annually, you may need to supplement it by irrigation.

The optimum average air temperature to grow Bermuda grass is 75oF and a soil temperature of 80oF. However, it can survive at 50oF below which it stops growing and discolors.

Bermuda grass needs full sun to thrive and doesn’t tolerate shade. It also withstands heavy foot traffic, thus preferred in homes with kids and pets where the lawn is constantly used. This grass is resilient to pests and diseases. Its deep fibrous roots draw water from greater depths in the soil, making it more resistant to drought.

Bermuda grass requires frequent mowing to thicken it because the more you cut, the thicker it gets. The mower setting should be 1 ½ inch and must be done weekly. The grass should be cut when it grows to about 2¼ inches.

2. St. Augustine grass

The second choice of turf for your San Antonio lawn could be St. Augustine grass. It has thick wide blades that make it look like a carpet. Though it has three species; Raleigh, Palmetto, and Floratam, the last two are the most common varieties grown in San Antonio, Texas.

St Augustine grass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass in the Southern U.S.A. Its leaf blades are wide, rough, appear like a carpet. It establishes itself in sods, sprigs, and plugs.

This grass grows fast, requires full sun (4-6 hours daily), and tolerates shade. The optimum temperature for St. Augustine grass is 80oF and 95oF. In winter, it becomes dormant and turns brown.

St Augustine grass is susceptible to iron deficiency and only survives in soils with a pH greater than 7.5.

a) Raleigh St. Augustine grass

This species is more common than Floratam in San Antonio. It grows best in full sun but can withstand partial shade. Raleigh forms sods and spreads by stolon. When subjected to high foot traffic, it wears.

Though Raleigh is susceptible to chin bugs and brown patches, it is the best cold-tolerant warm-season grass. It also withstands long periods of drought.

When the grass is actively growing in Summer, it needs about ¾ inches of water weekly but ½ an inch weekly when dormant.

Raleigh grass should be cut when it grows between 3-4 inches tall in Summer after 5 or 6 days.

b) Floratam  St. Augustine grass

Unlike Raleigh, Floratam is resistant to chin bugs and brown patch fungus. It moderately stands cold and heavy traffic. Floratam needs total sun exposure but can withstand moderate shade. It is also drought-resistant and only needs ½ inch of water when dormant.

 When actively growing in summer, Flaratam requires ¾ inches of water weekly to thrive. The mower setting should be 3-4 inches during this period.

Floratam grows beautifully, appearing like a carpet. It established itself in sods or plugs.

3. Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass is used in golf courses, parks, and home lawns. It forms a thick, dense layer of grass.

This grass has many species but only three (Matrella, Japonica, and Tenuifolia) are used in home lawns. It forms sod and spreads by stolons and rhizomes.

This grass grows in almost all acidic soils with a pH of 6.0-6.5. It actively grows in temperatures above 65oF.

Its deep roots draw more water from deeper depths in the soil, allowing it to survive dry conditions. Zoysiagrass grows slowly, prefers full sun, although it can tolerate partial shades.

Where there’s high traffic, it doesn’t wear or tear. A plus sign to look for in this grass is its ability to resist pests and diseases.

Since the grass is tough, it proves challenging to mow. Therefore, use a reel mower when cutting it. Set the mower to 2 inches and water it to ¾ inches when actively growing in summer. Zoysia grass has low water and maintenance requirements.

4. Buffalo grass

This grass dominates south Texas regions and extends to the Panhandle. It performs best in West San Antonio.

Buffalo grass grows slowly and is shorter than 10 inches. When it reaches 6 inches, it should be cut 4-5 inches tall.

It tolerates high traffic, thrives in heavy clay soils, requires 15-30 inches of water annually, and total sun exposure.

Buffalograss needs less care and no fertilizers. If Nitrogen is deficient, add less than 2lbs of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year. Buffalograss requires 1 inch of water when actively growing in summer. It stops growing and turns brown when winter dormancy kicks in.

Although this grass is susceptible to weeds like bermudagrass, it is the most drought tolerant.

Stampede and 609 buffalo are the most popular species grown on lawns.

The table below summarizes the best grass types grown in San Antonio.

Overall, St. Augustine grass is the best and the most popular grass grown in San Antonio. The grass is the most attractive because its thick blades resemble a carpet. Besides, it withstands the most shade and is simple to mow.

How to select the best grass for San Antonio lawns

Choosing the best grass for your San Antonio lawn can be pretty challenging with available options. However, you don’t need to go through that. There are simple factors to help you decide fast.

Here’s how to examine them and decide.

1. Consider the traffic tolerance of the grass

While some grasses in San Antonio can stand heavy foot traffic, others are more vulnerable to wear.

Look at how often your kids and pets play on the lawn and how frequently you use the lawn to entertain guests. Heavy traffic tolerant grass like Bermuda grass should be your choice if many people use the lawn often.

If your traffic is moderate, zoysia grass would be the best choice. Buffalograss stands out for low or no traffic lawns.

2. Check the maintenance  requirements of the grass

All grasses have different needs of how often you should fertilize, water, or mow to keep them healthy. Some require a high level of care, while others need little attention.

If you want to invest less effort, money, and time caring for your lawn, choose a low-maintenance grass type like buffalo grass. It doesn’t require fertilization or often watering.

Zoysia grass will make an excellent choice if you want unoften mowing since it grows slowly. However, Bermuda grass develops rapidly and would be a wrong choice in that case.

Generally, go for zoysia grass if you want a low-maintenance lawn.

3. Check the sunlight needs

Some of these grasses require full sun, while others need partial shade. Going for Bermuda grass would be wise if your area receives full sunlight.

St. Augustine grass is suitable if your area region gets more shade. For partially shaded places, go for Zoysia grass.

4. Check water availability

All warm-season grasses withstand drought, but their extent of tolerance varies. Extreme dry states require an excellent tolerant grass type. In such arid regions, Bermuda grass would be the best choice. Grow the other grass types for moderately dry areas.

Reference

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