Lawn Grasses for Bexar County & Central/South Texas

David Rodriguez, Bexar County Horticulture Agent
Special Thanks to Drs. Tom Harris and Jerry Parsons, local gardening experts with help on this informative chart.

Condition
Type of Grass
Common Bermuda
Hybrid Bermuda
Emerald Zoysia
El Toro & Jamur Zoysia
Raleigh*
St Augustine
Stampede
Buffalo
609
Buffalo
Shade
Tolerance
No
Full sun is best.
No
Full sun is best.
Yes
Fair shade tolerance.
Yes
Fair shade tolerance.
Yes
grows best in full sun, tolerates dappled sun.
Yes
Grows best in full sun, tolerates dappled sun.
No
Poor shade tolerance.
Good for sunny locations.
No
Poor shade tolerance.
Good for sunny locations.
Traffic

Yes
Tolerates traffic well.

Yes
Tolerates traffic well.
Yes
Fair traffic tolerance.

Yes
Fair traffic
tolerance.
Recovers slowly.

Yes
Moderate
tolerance.
No
Does not tolerate traffic.
No
Does NOT tolerate traffic.
No
Does NOT tolerate traffic.
Water** Requirements
1/2 inch or less per week to stay green.
1/2 inch or less per week to stay green.
Needs 3/4 inch per week to stay green, 1/2 inch will sustain.
3/4 inch per week to stay green.
Most drought tolerant. 3/4″ per week for growth, 1/2″ per 2-3 weeks if dormant.
Needs 3/4 inch per week for growth, 1/2″ per 2-3 weeks if dormant.
Needs 1″ per month to stay green. Almost no water if dormant.
Needs 1″ per month to stay green. Almost no water if dormant.
Drought Tolerant
Yes
Almost no water if dormant.
Yes
Almost no water if dormant.
Yes
Goes dormant; comes back with rain.
Yes
Goes dormant; comes back with rain.
Yes
Goes dormant after several hard frosts. Not very cold tolerant.
Yes
Goes dormant after several hard frosts. Best cold tolerance.
Yes
Native grass. Goes dormant in early fall or in drought.
Yes
Native grass. Goes dormant in early fall or in drought.
Low Mowing/
Maintenance
Gets thicker with frequent mowing.
Gets thicker with frequent mowing.
Highly weed resistant. may get rust in the fall.
Best with reel-type mower–can tolerate rotary if weekly.
Mow at 3″ increasing to 4″ in summer. Mow every 5-6 days.
Mow at 3″ increasing to 4″ in summer. Mow every 5-6 days.
Looks best at 5-6 inches. Tolerates heavy soil.
Looks best at 4k-5 inches. Tolerates heavy soil.
Seed or Sod
Low Initial Cost
Yes
Seed or sod.
Creeping growth habit.
Yes
Sod.
Creeping growth habit.
No
Expensive sod.
Slow growing.
No
Sod. El Toro fairly fast growing, jamur is slow growing.
Yes
Sod or plugs
Grows quickly by stolens.

Yes
Sod or plugs.
Grows quickly by stolons.

No
Sods or plugs.
Moderately expensive.
Thin sods but spreads quickly.
No
Sods or plugs.
Moderately expensive.
Thin sods but spreads quickly.
“Carpet” Turf Appearance
Yes
Medium-textured grass.
Yes
Slightly wider blade than common.
Yes
Dark green color.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes/No
Thin turf.
Yes/No
Tufted or lumpy.
Pest and Disease Resistant
Yes
Yes
Well suited for lawns.
Yes, once established, may see rust in fall.
Yes
May see rust in fall. All similar in appearance.
Yes
Resistant to St. Augustine
Decline, brown patch, chinch bugs.
No
Susceptible to bown patch chinch bugs.
Yes
Goes dormant in early fall. Likes heavy soil. Weeds can invade.
Yes
Goes dormant in early fall.
Likes heavy soil. Weeds can invade.
Mower
Setting
1 1/2 inches
Gets thicker with mowing. Reel mower is best.
1 inch
Gets thicker with mowing.
2 inches
Do NOT use rotary mower, reel only.
2 inches
Reel-type mower is best, rotary tolerated.
3 inches increasing to 4 inches in hot summer.
3 inches increasing to 4 inches in hot summer.
Looks best at 4-5 inches.
Looks best at
4-5 inches.
Mow when at or before this height
2 1/4 inches
1 1/2 inches
3 inches
3 inches
4 1/2 inches
4 1/2 inches
6 inches
6 inches

*Raleigh is the most common one used in our area.
**All dormant grass needs 1 inch of water every 2 weeks in lieu of rain.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on Turfgrasses, visit the Texas A&M University turfgrass Program at http://aggieturf.tamu.edu

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas AgriLife Extension Service with the Texas A&M University System.

For any landscape or gardening information, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners Hotline at (210) 467-6575, e-mail questions to info@bexarcountymastergardeners.org, or visit our County Extension website at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu and click under Horticulture and Gardening.

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