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What Are Warm Season Grasses and Their Best Types?

April 26, 2023
What Are Warm Season Grasses and Their Best Types?
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One thing that is so commonly overlooked when it comes to lawns is that there are many kinds of grasses to choose from. For businesses across the Midwest, warm season grasses are a popular – but by no means universal choice.

At Earth Development, we ensure that our clients never need to think about planting warm season grasses, handling maintenance, or dealing with pest management. We help you choose the fastest growing warm season grass to ensure your lawn looks healthy, lush, and green quicker every year – and we also handle all your maintenance needs.

And to top it off, we also aim to provide valuable information right here on our website.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best types of warm season grasses you can choose from.

What Are Warm Season Grasses?

Let’s start by explaining what we’re talking about! Warm season grasses are a kind of grass that thrive in temperatures over 75 degrees. It means that they’re great for the summer, and while they are typically used in the south of the United States where the weather is a little warmer, the grass can still thrive in the Midwest.

It depends on your property and needs – but if you want great summer grass, then this is the choice for you.

Warm season grasses stay dormant during the winter and the fall, turning a light brown color. However, the grass doesn’t die and doesn’t have to look bad during the dormant seasons. When the sun comes out, however, it becomes green, lush, and thick.

Best Types Of Warm Season Grasses

Interested in a warm season grass to ensure your commercial property look amazing this summer? Let’s take a look at the best types of warm season grasses.

Bermuda Grass

For many people, Bermuda grass is the best warm-season grass because it thrives in the warm weather, it grows very quickly, and it is very, very green. That’s why this grass is used on golf courses and sports fields.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that if you don’t properly maintain the lawn, then the grass will very easily spread into your flower beds.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a variety that thrives in sandy and moist soils. It’s also ideal for places with salt air.

In the Midwest, the grass is popular because it can even thrive in shaded sports – meaning that in the summer, the grass will look healthy and grow well even if it is under a tree or in the shade of a neighboring building.

Warm season grasses typically need direct sun, but not this one!

Buffalo Grass

And then there’s Buffalo Grass!

Named because it was once used to feed bison on the Great Plains, the grass is today more often used by property owners who are looking for a good, drought-resistant kind of grass that thrives in warm weather.

Buffalo grass can be easily revived after a period of drought, too. If not properly maintained the grass will turn brown in the heat – but after watering, the grass comes back to life and looks great.

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass may be a good option for you if your soil is sandy and your weather is sunny. This kind of grass can tolerate some shade but will need plenty of direct sunlight to stay healthy.

You can grow the lawn from sprigs, sod, or seed, and it’s also easy to maintain as it is slower growing and needs to be mowed less.

It may, however, need some extra watering when the weather is particularly dry.

Maintenance Of Warm Season Grasses 

Now there’s the matter of maintenance. Warm season lawn grasses might thrive in the summer, but they still need to be maintained. That means understanding how to fertilize the grass, how often to water the grass and how much water, and more.

Maintenance, when not done right, can also damage your grass to the extent that it may not even recover until the next year. That’s why our team at Earth Development is so popular.

We provide ongoing lawn maintenance that ensures your property looks great throughout the year. Landscaping, lawn maintenance, and flower bed maintenance make your job so much easier and ensure your property always looks attractive and well-kept. 

Are Warm Season Grasses Shade Tolerant? 

As we mentioned previously, warm season grasses usually require quite a lot of direct sunlight in the summertime as they prefer the warmer months. Some varieties of grass are more shade tolerant than others, however. Centipede grass is a good example of this.

St. Augustine grass can thrive in the shade, too, but for the most part, you should expect that your warm season grass needs plenty of sunlight to thrive. 

Are Warm Season Grasses Drought Tolerant?

summer grass

They can be drought resistant, in the sense that many warm season types of grass can be easily revived by being watered after suffering a drought.

Remember that drought tolerance and heat tolerance are different. 

Drought tolerance means that the grasses can survive without water for some time, and will come out of dormancy once watered again. Heat tolerance, however, is different. Centipede grass, for instance, can survive the heat better than it can in the drought because it has short roots and easily loses access to water in times of drought. 

Are Warm Season Grasses Cold Tolerant? 

Warm season grasses typically turn brown when the weather gets colder, which means that the grass has gone dormant. That means the lawn will turn a little brown – though often a light shade of brown that does not by any means look offensive – and it will stay that way through the fall and the winter. Once the spring and the summer arrive, however, the lawn will come straight back to life as long as the soil is maintained, healthy, and watered. 

Best Practices For Planting Warm Season Grasses 

Let’s take a look at a few “best practices” when it comes to maintaining your warm season grasses.

  • Don’t Plant Too Early: Don’t plant your seeds too early. Late spring and summer are the best times to plant the grass as that’s when the grass wants to grow. Plant too early and you won’t see any growth for quite some time – and by then, the seeds could have washed away with the rain.
  • Mow to the Right Height: Every kind of warm season grass should be mowed differently, but a good rule to follow is the “One-Third Rule.” The rule says that you should mow your lawn once it reaches 50% higher than the height you need it to be. Then, you cut off the top third of the grass in one go to avoid harming the grass.
  • Sharpen Your Blades: Always make sure the blades on your lawnmower are sharp. Dull blades can pull the grass up at the root and kill your lawn.
  • Vary Your Mowing Pattern: Change the pattern you follow when mowing your lawn to avoid excess soil compaction and to encourage better, stronger, more resilient growth. 

Why Not Leave It All to Local Experts?

Warm season grasses aren’t just great for warmer climates – they’re perfect if you want resilient grass in the spring and the summer.

Maintaining your lawn properly can be difficult, especially when you’ve got a business to run. That’s why businesses across the Midwest count on Earth Development to provide reliable, regular maintenance services that ensure their outdoor space looks well-kept and attractive.

Our teams across the Midwest have great local reputations and years of experience providing comprehensive landscaping and lawn maintenance services.

For more information about our landscaping services or a free quote, why not give our team a call?

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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