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What is the Best Grass for Central Texas?

If you live in the Central Texas region including Austin, Waco, and San Antonio, the best grasses for your lawn are:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Buffalo grass
  • Zoysia grass
  • St. Augustine
  • Texas Bluegrass

These grasses are adapted to grow well in the Central Texas climate. With the right watering, care, and sunlight, you can grow a vibrant lawn with any one of these grasses.

Best grass for Central Texas

5 Best Grasses for Central Texas Lawns

When choosing between grass types for lawns in Central Texas, it’s important to make sure you select a drought-tolerant grass that can handle the Texas heat. However, there is no one perfect grass for Central Texas. The best grass for you depends on your yard and your preference for high- or low-maintenance grass.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda is a fast-growing grass that thrives in Central Texas. It is a favorite for sports fields and golf courses because it quickly repairs damaged areas. If your yard receives full sun, Bermuda is a great choice. However, it is not a very shade-tolerant grass, so it is not a good choice for shaded yards. Because it is such a fast-growing grass in summer, Bermuda lawns typically have high fertilizer needs and require frequent mowing.

Shade Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: High
Maintenance Level: High

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is one of the few lawn grasses that’s native to Central Texas. It doesn’t do well with very wet or sandy soils, but grows extremely well in well-drained soil. Buffalo grass maintenance is a breeze. You can mow it short or allow it to grow long for a prairie look. Unlike other grasses, which may be killed by a summer drought, Buffalo grass can enter summer dormancy and green up again once the drought ends.

Shade Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: Very High
Maintenance Level: Low

Zoysia

Zoysia grass is a cousin to Bermuda grass with some key differences. Zoysia is much more shade tolerant than Bermuda grass. While Bermuda won’t fill in shaded areas beneath trees in your lawn, Zoysia will. Zoysia also has very good drought tolerance and does not require as much water as grasses like St. Augustine. This makes it great at surviving hot weather in Texas. Although Zoysia does need regular fertilization to maintain its green color, it can thrive in a wide range of Texas lawns.

Shade Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Maintenance Level: Medium

St. Augustine

Although you can grow St. Augustine lawns in central Texas, it is not our top choice for lawns in the drier regions surrounding San Antonio. St. Augustine thrives on water, making it an excellent choice for humid areas. Although it can tolerate some drought, it is not as hardy as Bermuda, Zoysia, or Buffalo grass. Although St. Augustine does fairly well in shaded lawns, it can be tough to start a new St. Augustine lawn. This lawn grass can’t be grown from seed, so sod or soil plugs must be bought and planted.

Shade Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Maintenance Level: Medium-High

Texas Bluegrass

If you’re wondering if you can grow Kentucky Bluegrass in Texas, consider planting a closely related alternative—Texas Bluegrass. Kentucky Bluegrass will turn into a slow-growing, colorless grass in the heat of Texas summer, but Texas Bluegrass can withstand these temperatures. If you live in the Austin or Waco area and want a fast-growing, low-maintenance grass, Texas Bluegrass is an incredible choice. The other grasses on this list are warm-season grasses, but Texas Bluegrass is a cool-season grass. This means it will handle cold temperatures better than other options and stay green late into fall.

Shade Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: Medium-low
Maintenance Level: Low

Is Zoysia Grass Good for Central Texas?

Zoysia grass is an excellent choice for Central Texas. It is a very versatile grass that can grow well in shade, sun, wet soil, or dry conditions. If you have a lawn with a few shade trees, Bermuda or Buffalo grass will struggle, but Zoysia will thrive. It can also handle drought and heat better than most grasses.

  • Zoysia grass grows excellently throughout Central Texas.
  • A Zoysia lawn is more shade-tolerant than Bermuda or Buffalo grass.
  • Zoysia handles drought very well.
  • Your Zoysia lawn requires frequent fertilizer applications in summer.

However, Zoysia’s fast growth and versatility do require a bit more upkeep. Zoysia lawns require 4–5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, annually. This is about twice as much as a Texas Bluegrass lawn. So, you can cultivate a magnificent Zoysia lawn in Central Texas, but it will require several fertilizer applications in summer.

What Grass is Native to Central Texas?

Buffalo grass is native to Central Texas. As the name implies, it originally spread across the prairies, where American Bison fed on the grass. Because it’s native to Texas, Buffalo grass is uniquely adapted to hot, dry summers. It can enter summer dormancy without dying and will green up once it’s watered again.

  • Buffalo grass is the only lawn grass native to Texas.
  • It’s easy to grow Buffalo grass in dry, non-sandy areas of Texas.
  • Buffalo grass has a better summer drought tolerance than any other variety.
  • Due to its “natural” appearance, some homeowners do not like the look of Buffalo grass.

Although Buffalo grass is very low maintenance and easy to grow in Texas, it doesn’t have the same look as other lawn grasses. Buffalo grass grows more thinly than most lawn grasses and is typically mowed at a taller height to discourage invasive weeds. This can lead to a shaggy or unkempt lawn look. If you don’t mind this, Buffalo grass truly is the most natural choice you can make for a Central Texas lawn.

What Type of Grass Grows Best in Central Texas?

If your Central Texas lawn receives full sun, Bermuda grass is an excellent choice. It grows quickly and recovers from damage well. If your lawn has shade trees, Zoysia grass or St. Augustine will thrive. Both of these grasses tolerate moderate shade and can survive Texas summers well. Buffalo grass is a lawn grass that is native to Texas, so it is extremely well-adapted for the environment. If you’d like a low-maintenance grass that remains green late into the year, choose Texas Bluegrass.

How to make Bermuda grass green

How to Make Bermuda Grass Green [Year-Round Guide]