What Are Warm Season Grasses?

If you’re a homeowner, then you know that keeping your lawn looking good takes time and effort. There are different types of grass, and each one has its own unique set of care requirements. In this blog post, we will discuss the characteristics of warm season grasses and how to care for them.

What are warm season grasses?

Warm season grasses are those that thrive in the summer months and go dormant during the winter. They grow best when temperatures range between 80°F – 95°F (26.667778 – 35 Celsius), and they do not tolerate cold weather well at all.

These grasses grow easily and well in warmer climates, starting with spring and carrying through to fall. With the seasons usually transitioning from one to another rather quickly, the temperatures and weather vary greatly. The cool season grasses tend to grow best throughout the year everywhere, while warm season grasses tend to thrive mostly in warmer climates but will still flourish in cooler ones as well.

They also grow best when exposed to direct sunlight. They may grow slowly in cooler climates, but they don’t go dormant either, so it is still ideal to choose warm season grasses for lawns or turf that get less sun and have cooler temperatures than usual compared to other locations, but never freeze out totally during winter. The leaves are broad and blade-like, typically a dark green color with a purple tinge to them.

Benefits of having warm season grasses:

  • Low maintenance: Warm season grasses are very low maintenance. Once they are established, they only need to be mowed a few times a year.
  • Drought tolerant: These types of grasses do well in hot and dry climates, making them perfect for areas that experience drought conditions.
  • Easy to grow: Many warm season grasses can easily be grown from seeds, making them an affordable option for your lawn.
  • Attractive: Warm season grasses come in many different varieties, so you can find one that will perfectly match your home’s landscaping scheme.
  • Increased erosion control: Warm season grasses help prevent soil erosion by holding onto topsoil with their deep root systems and extensive networks of rhizomes and stolons.
  • Better air quality: These grasses remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, releasing oxygen into it instead; this makes them a great choice if you want to do your part in fighting global warming.
  • Fewer weeds: The dense turf of warm season grasses helps prevent invasive species from taking over your lawn because they don’t have room to grow.
  • Seed reproduction: They reproduce by spreading seeds around, which helps them to naturally populate new areas.
  • Shade: They can grow in both full sun and partial shade, making them perfect for areas that experience a lot of weather changes throughout the year.
  • Limited water usage: Since warm season grasses don’t need much watering to survive, they are ideal if you live somewhere with limited water resources.

 

What are warm season grasses?

 

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass is very hardy and can withstand high-traffic areas like sports fields or playgrounds with ease because it grows quickly to fill in any bare spots where people have walked on the lawn repeatedly over time. It requires less maintenance than other types of grass.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia Grass is great for hot climates because it can tolerate heat, but it can also tolerate cold weather too. What’s more, this type grows slowly. You won’t have to worry about mowing as often when compared with some other varieties that grow faster and need constant trimming.

It is a durable grass that can tolerate both drought and high traffic. It also has a deep root system, which helps it to stay green even in summer heat.

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is a perennial grass that grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. It is a low-maintenance grass that is drought tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases. Centipede grass has a slow growth rate, making it a good choice for areas where a low-traffic lawn is desired.

This variety does not like shade very much, so they’re best suited for areas where there isn’t much tree cover or other large plants blocking out sunlight

St. Augustinegrass

St. Augustinegrass is often used in southern regions because it can tolerate heat and humidity better than other types. What’s more, this variety doesn’t require as much water or fertilizer, so they are a great choice for those who want an eco-friendly lawn.

Carpetgrass

Carpetgrass is a great choice for areas with moist or sandy soils. It has a very shallow root system so it doesn’t have a strong drought tolerance. It grows very dense and can look like a carpet.

Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass is another great warm season grass that is drought tolerant, prefers full sunlight and grows in a variety of soils. Bahiagrass is slow to germinate, so make sure you plant enough seeds.

Cons of having warm season grasses

A major drawback to having warm season grass is that it goes dormant in the winter. What this means is that you lose your green color when the weather turns cold, and if there isn’t any snow cover on top of it, then you will be left with brown dead grass all winter long. If you live in an area where winter is a long season and your lawn is highly visible, then this might not be the grass for you.

Warm season grasses are also more susceptible to disease than cool season varieties. This isn’t necessarily because they have less resistance, but because of how rapidly warm season grasses grow when it’s hot out. The faster the grass grows, the more susceptible it is to disease and other problems that come from having a lot of growth happening all at once (insect infestations or fungal diseases).

You should also know that warm season grasses need more nitrogen than cool season varieties. What this means is that you will need to fertilize your lawn more often if you have warm season grass.

How do I care for my warm season grass?

 

Watering

One of the most important aspects of caring for your warm season grass is watering it. You should water regularly and deeply to encourage deep root growth, which will help with drought tolerance later in life. What does this mean exactly? Well, when you water your lawn every day (or even just once per week), then all that moisture gets sucked up by shallow roots right near the surface where they’re easier to find.

On the other hand, if you water deeply and less often (say, once every two or three weeks), then the water will seep down deep into the soil where the roots are actually looking for it. This will encourage your lawn to grow a deeper root system, which is crucial for surviving during hot, dry months.

Mowing

You should also mow your warm season grass at a higher height than you would cool season varieties – about an inch and a half or two inches is ideal. Not only does this help with drought tolerance, but it also helps protect your grass from disease by leaving more of the leaf blade intact.

Avoid shady areas

Another thing to keep in mind when caring for warm season grasses is that they don’t grow very well in shady areas. What you can do is plant some groundcover underneath where your trees are located to really give them a chance at survival.

What about weed and pest control?

Warm season grasses aren’t as prone to weeds or pests, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have any problems with either of these things. What you will want to do is make sure you treat your lawn for weeds and pests annually before the warm season starts in order to prevent infestations from occurring (and get rid of any existing ones). This way, when the weather turns hot again, there won’t be anything else around competing with your grass for nutrients or taking up valuable space where you’d like some nice green grass growing instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I need fertilizer for warm season grasses?

Warm season grasses require fertilizer for a healthy lawn. Generally, warm season grasses are fertilized twice per year with a complete program that includes pre-emergent weed control and post-emergent weed control. Fertilizer should be applied in the spring or summer months but not during periods of excessive heat or drought stress.

The warm season grasses respond well to applications of nitrogen fertilizer, which promotes strong green growth.

What is the best time to plant warm season grasses?

Warm season grasses can be planted at any time during the warm months of the year. Planting is usually done in early spring or late summer, but planting in the heat of summer is not a problem as long as you water frequently.

When does frost kill warm season grasses?

Frost will kill most warm season turfgrasses when temperatures reach 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Do I need to water my lawn more often in the summer if I have warm season grass?

Warm season grasses generally require more water than cool season grasses. During the summer, lawns should be watered every day for about 30 minutes or until the soil is moist six inches below the surface. In general, you should apply one inch of water per week to your lawn, whether it is irrigated by sprinkler or rain. If you live in an area where rainfall does not provide this amount of water, then you will need to supplement with irrigation.

Conclusion

Warm season grasses are used best in climates that are mild to warm. They can withstand the heat of summer and grow well in full sun areas. What makes them different from cool-season grasses is that they do not go into a dormant state during winter months but rather continue growing until temperatures drop below freezing point when they will stop growing altogether until springtime arrives again.

Regardless of why you want to plant a warm season grass, it is important to know what the characteristics of each grass are. It will make it easier for you to decide which warm season grass is best for you. 

Warm season grasses are the perfect solution for homeowners who want a beautiful lawn but have little time to put into maintaining it. If you are looking for a fast-growing lawn, then you may want to consider installing warm season grass in your yard