When speaking of growing grass, Arkansas is an area of the country that is considered in the “transition zone.” Warm season grasses, which grow their best in the summer and become dormant in the winter, are often damaged by a cold winter. On the other hand, cool season grasses, which grow their best in the spring and fall and stay somewhat green in the winter, are often damaged by summer heat. Don’t fret though, a few grasses grow well in Arkansas despite being in the transition zone.
Zoysiagrass is a warm season grass. It is grown throughout the state and according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, tolerates Arkansas summer heat and suffers little damage in the winter, even in the northern sections of the state. Zoysiagrass also needs little maintenance and can be mowed as short as 1 inch. It is established in the home lawn from seed, sprigs, plugs or sod.
Bermudagrass is also a warm season grass and grown throughout the state, although it suffers a little more cold damage in the winter than zoysiagrass. Bermuda grass tolerates a lot of wear and tear and drought conditions better than most grasses. It can be mowed down to ½ inch. Bermuda grass is also established from seed, sprigs, plugs or sod.
Tall fescue is a cool season grass and unlike many other cool season grasses, it tolerates the heat in the northern portions of the state; it tolerates shade as well. Tall fescue has a coarse texture and is not as plush as zoysiagrass or bermudagrass. It is kept about 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches tall and is established from seed or sod.
Centipedegrass is a warm season grass and ideal to plant in the southern and central areas of the state. Like tall fescue, it is coarse, but not as cold tolerant. Ideal mowing height is about 1 ½ to 2 inches high and overall, the centipedegrass requires little maintenance to grow well. It is also established in home lawns from seed or sod.