Texas is not the ideal climate for Kentucky Bluegrass. Although it is possible to grow Kentucky Bluegrass in the Texas panhandle, it requires extra care and irrigation. Kentucky Bluegrass will struggle in areas south of Amarillo and is prone to disease in the humid central and eastern portions of the state. It is not an ideal choice for Texas lawns.
Instead of Kentucky Bluegrass, consider planting Texas Bluegrass as an alternative. This grass requires less irrigation and can be grown as far south as Austin. In East Texas, warm-season grasses such as St. Augustine and Bermuda perform best.
Why Doesn’t Kentucky Bluegrass Grow Well in Texas?
Texas heat is a Kentucky Bluegrass killer. When temperatures rise above 80℉, Kentucky Bluegrass stops growing and begins to enter dormancy. This means that during the bulk of the year (April–October) your Bluegrass will be brown and dormant.
- Bluegrass begins to enter dormancy at temperatures above 80℉.
- Bluegrass will be brown (dormant) from April through October in most regions of Texas.
- In humid regions of Texas, all varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass are susceptible to disease and death.
Bluegrass also thrives best in relatively dry environments. The humid eastern and coastal regions of Texas are not only hot, they’re humid, which invites disease and fungus to attack Bluegrass.
What is the Best Kentucky Bluegrass Alternative for Texas?
The great news is, Texas Bluegrass has an appearance and feel similar to Kentucky Bluegrass. Like the name implies, it thrives in many regions of Texas.
- Texas Bluegrass has similar characteristics to Kentucky Bluegrass but is far more drought and heat-tolerant.
- Texas Bluegrass can be grown throughout the panhandle and North Texas, as far east as Dallas, and as far south as Midland/Odessa, Austin, and San Antonio.
- Texas Bluegrass will remain green throughout Texas summers.
If you want the Bluegrass look in Texas, the. Texa Bluegrass is the answer. There are some limitations, however. Like its Kentucky cousin, Texas Bluegrass doesn’t grow well in the very humid regions of East Texas. Warm-season grasses are your best bet there.
Choose Texas Bluegrass Instead of Kentucky Bluegrass Cultivars
Some cultivars of Kentucky Bluegrass boast improved heat and drought tolerance. However, even these options will not perform as well as Texas Bluegrass.
- 2 common Hybrid Bluegrasses—SPF-30 and Thermal Blue—are advertised as heat and drought tolerant. They still will not thrive in Texas south of the panhandle.
- Texas Bluegrass will provide a greener, healthier yard with less maintenance than any Kentucky Bluegrass variety.
Even if you live in North Texas, where temperatures dip low in winter, the summers are too long and hot for Kentucky Bluegrass. Winter and spring will not provide enough time for Kentucky Bluegrass to grow roots and absorb nutrients. It’s extremely likely any Kentucky Bluegrass you plant will wither, even with the most diligent care.
What is the Best Grass to Grow in Texas?
Because Texas is such a large state, the best grass to grow depends on the region. Below is a simple breakdown of the best turf grasses by Texas region.
- East Texas: Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, St. Augustine, Zoysia
- South Texas/Gulf Coast: Bermuda grass, Seashore Paspalum, St. Augustine, Zoysia
- Central Texas: Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Texas Bluegrass, Zoysia
- North Texas: Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Tall Fescue, Texas Bluegrass, Zoysia
- West Texas: Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, St. Augustine, Zoysia
As you can see, Bermuda grass and Zoysia can be cultivated throughout Texas and especially thrive in the eastern half of the state. St. Augustine grows well in heavy shade lawns in Southeast Texas. Buffalo grass and Texas Bluegrass are lawn grasses that are specially adapted to the Texas climate.
Is Kentucky Bluegrass a Good Choice for Texas Lawns?
Kentucky Bluegrass is a poor choice for Texas lawns because the long, hot Texas summers halt Kentucky Bluegrass growth once daytime highs reach 80℉. A Kentucky Bluegrass lawn in Texas will be brown throughout summer and struggle to gain nutrients in short winter and spring growing seasons. Kentucky Bluegrass is especially susceptible to fungus and disease in humid regions of Texas.
Texas Bluegrass is an excellent alternative that has a similar look and growth pattern as Kentucky Bluegrass. Additionally, it is adapted to grow well in Northern and Central Texas. Search for a seed or sod provider near you that specializes in Texas Bluegrass in order to get the lawn you want with a grass especially suited for The Lone Star State.