In order for your lawn to survive the hot summers and cold-snap winters of West Texas, you should plant one of the following varieties of grass:
- Bermuda Grass
- Buffalo Grass
- Texas Bluegrass
Water-loving grasses like St. Augustine do not grow well in West Texas, so cross these off your list. Similarly, cool-season grasses such as Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Ryegrass struggle in West Texas, so steer clear of these varieties.
The 4 Best Grasses for West Texas Lawns
A West Texas lawn requires a drought-tolerant, resilient lawn grass that can recover from hot, dry periods. In order to cultivate a green lawn without headaches and dead patches of grass, choose from one of the following species:
The choice of golf courses and sports fields across the state, Bermuda grass performs extremely well in Texas. It grows quickly and repairs itself from damage (part of why it’s a leading choice for athletic fields). It’s also very drought tolerant, so it grows well despite the summer heat.
- Bermuda grass grows well across West Texas.
- A Bermuda lawn grows quickly and can repair damaged spots easily.
- Your Bermuda lawn will need several fertilizer applications in summer.
- Bermuda grass is best suited for lawns that receive full sun—it grows poorly in shade.
The biggest drawback of Bermuda grass is that it is a hungry feeder. A Bermuda lawn needs regular fertilizer in order to fuel all that thick growth. Another drawback to be aware of is that it grows very poorly in shade, even only partial shade. Bermuda grass is best planted in sunny lawns only.
Zoysia is our number one choice for West Texas lawns. It grows quickly, is very drought tolerant, and grows far better in partial shade than Bermuda grass. If you want the green color and resilience of Bermuda grass but you have a shady lawn, Zoysia is the best grass to choose.
- Zoysia grass is similar to Bermuda in color and appearance.
- Unlike Bermuda grass, Zoysia grows well in partial shade.
- Zoysia has high drought tolerance—a must for West Texas.
- A Zoysia lawn requires more fertilizer than most other grasses.
Like Bermuda grass, Zoysia needs several fertilizer applications during the growing season to maintain its green growth. While this grass type requires some maintenance, it’s worth it. It’s simply one of the best warm season grasses to grow in West Texas.
If you want a low-maintenance lawn that can handle Texas heat, Buffalo grass is the best choice. This American prairie grass grows excellently in West Texas as long as the soil in your lawn is not excessively sandy. It is the most drought-tolerant grass on this list. Thanks to its deep root system, Buffalo grass is able to handle months of summer drought without dying.
- Buffalo grass is extremely drought tolerant.
- Your Buffalo grass will grow best in sunny yards with non-sandy soil.
- Buffalo grass is more prone to weed invasion than the other lawn grasses on this list.
If a Buffalo grass lawn is hit by drought it will turn brown and dormant. However, unlike other grasses it won’t die during summer drought. Some homeowners feel that Buffalo grass grows too thinly and allows weeds to invade, so keep this in mind if you choose Buffalo grass.
As the only cool-season grass on this list, Texas Bluegrass is a unique choice. Because of its cold tolerance, Texas Bluegrass will stay green later into winter than the other options on this list. It’s also a relatively low-maintenance grass that requires about half the fertilizer of Bermuda and Zoysia.
- Stays green later into the year than other grasses.
- Has good shade and drought tolerance.
- Has lower fertilizer needs than Bermuda and Zoysia.
- Is limited to select areas of West Texas.
However, Texas Bluegrass isn’t well-suited to all areas of West Texas. It mostly thrives in the panhandle and North Texas, but can be grown as far south as San Antonio and as far west as Midland/Odessa. If you are between Midland and El Paso, Texas Bluegrass is probably not a good choice for your yard.
When Should You Plant Grass Seed in West Texas?
Because most grass species grown in West Texas are warm season grasses, seed should be planted in mid- to late-spring. Once temperatures reach the 80s during the day, spread your grass seed. This applies to Bermuda, Zoysia, and Buffalo grass seed.
- Plant warm season grasses (Bermuda, Zoysia, and Buffalo) in the spring.
- Time your spring planting when daytime temperatures first reach the 80s.
- Plant Texas Bluegrass in fall when daytime temperatures drop to the 70s.
If you are seeding or overseeding your lawn with Texas Bluegrass, the best time to spread grass seed is in fall. Spread the seed once the temperatures drop down to the 70s during the day. You’ll actually get the most grass seedlings from a fall planting with this variety.
What Grass is Best for Texas Heat?
You can’t beat Bermuda grass when it comes to thriving during Texas summers. Bermuda grass loves direct sun and is at its peak growth in the summer months. If your lawn is sunny and hot, choose Bermuda. With twice-weekly watering and monthly fertilizer applications, it will thrive all through summer.
What Grasses are Native to West Texas?
The only lawn grass that is native to West Texas is Buffalo grass. This grass grows naturally on the American prairies and was once the main feed for American Bison herds. Because of its drought resistance, easy seeding, and natural prairie look, it’s an excellent choice for West Texas yards. It is among the easiest lawn grasses to grow because it has low water and fertilizer needs.
What is the Best Lawn Grass for West Texas?
If you have a sunny lawn in West Texas, choose Bermuda grass for your lawn. If your lawn receives partial shade, Zoysia is the top choice. If you’d like to plant a natural grass that requires far less water and fertilizer than the previous two options, plant Buffalo grass. For a unique grass that stays green into winter, choose Texas Bluegrass.