Shade & Drought Tolerant Lawn Grass for Texas

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Zoysiagrass is green during the warm months and turns brown in the cool weather.
Zoysiagrass is green during the warm months and turns brown in the cool weather. (Image: grass,lawn image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Texas A&M University recommends seven different grasses for the state of Texas. Of these seven grasses, only zoysiagrass is drought-tolerant, shade-tolerant and hardy throughout the entire state. Zoysiagrass is a warm-season grass with a thick texture and an even green color during the summer. It withstands high traffic and grows well in the heat.

Establishment

You can establish zoysiagrass through seed, plugs or sod. Seed is the most unreliable way to plant this type of grass. Sodding will result in instant turf, but can be expensive. Lay sod during anytime of the year, although the most ideal time is between April through October. During the months of May and June is the best time to plant plugs. Plugs are round pieces of sod that you plant in rows. Rows must be 6 inches apart and plant plugs 6 inches apart. Plugs may take two years to completely fill in the lawn.

Mowing

Mow zoysiagrass to a height between 3/4 inch to 2 1/2 inches. You may use a rotary mower with sharp blades or a reel mower. Zoysiagrass needs frequent mowing, at least once every five to seven days. Never remove more than one-third of the blade during a single mowing session. You may begin to mow the grass in April or as soon as the grass turns green in the Spring. Discontinue mowing during the month of October.

Watering

Give Zoysiagrass 1 1/4 inches of water per week. Using a home irrigation system, like a sprinkler, irrigation will take between three and five hours. The soil must be moist to a depth of 4 to 6 inches for proper growth. Push a screwdriver down into an area of grass and pull it out. Use a ruler to determine where the soil clings onto the screwdriver. There should be at least 4 inches of the screwdriver covered in soil. Always water the grass early in the morning.

Fertilizing

In late May, or three weeks after the grass turns green, apply a nitrogen fertilizer to the zoysiagrass. Sprinkle 8 ounces of crystallized nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. The lawn will also need two summer fertilizer applications, one during late June and then again in August. Apply 8 ounces of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn for both applications. Do not fertilize the lawn with nitrogen after the month of August.

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