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Gardening in the Texas Hill Country

    Demonstration Garden

Demonstration Garden Grasses

Grass Plot 1   St. Augustine 'Raleigh' Stenotaphrum secundatum
Pro:
• The most widely planted of the St. Augustine types
• More tolerant of shade than other grasses including 'Floratam'
• Spreads quickly, develops dense ground coverage
• Has good cold tolerance
• Resistant to the St. Augustine Decline virus
Con:
• Susceptible to various other lawn diseases, iron chlorosis, and insects (especially chinch bugs)
• Higher water usage than other grasses, especially in full sun
• Has low wear-tolerance which may make it undesirable for heavily used lawns
• Has had problems with the fungal disease Brown Patch if over-fertilized and over-watered

Source: Duble, Richard L.; St. Augustine Grass

Grass Plot 2   St. Augustine 'Floratam' Stenotaphrum secundatum
Pro:
• The preferred St. Augustine grass for South Central Texas
• Can thrive in acid or alkaline soils and in moderate shade to full sun if given ample water
• Has good cold tolerance
• Vigorous grower, spreads quickly, and has superior color
• Fair drought tolerance; will lose color (called “leaf firing”) but will recover with return of moisture
• Shows good resistance to St. Augustine Decline, to iron chlorosis, Brown Patch fungus, and chinch bug injury
Con:
• All St. Augustine grasses need more water than other grass types

Source: Aggie Horticulture plant answers.com:
Floratam St. Augustine Grass — the BEST Grass for South and South Central Texas

Grass Plot 3   Common Bermuda Grass   Cynodon spp.

Pro:
• Major turf species for sports fields and lawns
• Less expensive than St. Augustine, Zoysia, or Buffalo grass
• Drought tolerant, bears high traffic, provides quick coverage, does not require fertilizing
• Goes dormant in a drought, but greens up quickly when moisture returns
Con:

• Requires full sun; will not grow in medium to dense shade
• Extremely invasive in high rainfall or irrigated areas
• Difficult to eradicate because of its seed production and deep rhizomes
• Requires constant edging along fences, trees, etc
• Produces unsightly seed heads

Sources: Duble, Richard L.; The Sports Turf of the South
Finch, Calvin R.; Grow the Right Turf

Grass Plot 4   Bermuda Grass 'Tif 419'
Pro:
• Greener, denser, more finely textured than common Bermuda
• Allows a shorter mowing height of 1 to1.5 inches
Con:
• Best adapted for golf greens, sports fields rather than home lawns
• Best mowed twice a week
• Requires abundant water and fertilizer
• Will not grow in medium to dense shade
• Aggressively spreads both by rhizomes and stolons
• Requires constant edging along fences, trees, etc.
• All of the hybrid Bermuda grasses are sterile and must be propagated by sprigs or sod


Source:  Duble, Richard L.;
Turfgrass Fertilization

Grass Plot 5   Zoysia Grass 'JaMur'
Pro:
• As a coarse leaf Zoysia, it is more shade-tolerant than the narrow leaf varieties of Zoysia
• Relatively free of serious pest problems
• Very wear-resistant; good for golf courses, public grounds
• Extremely dense turf that can choke out weeds
Con:

• Like Bermuda, Zoysia goes dormant in a drought but greens up quickly when moisture returns
• Difficult to mow because of density; requires a strong mower and well-sharpened blades
• Slower to spread than Bermuda or St. Augustine
• More expensive than Bermuda, Buffalo, or St. Augustine
• Thatch buildup is significant and requires de-thatching every 2 - 3 years
• Though dormant in winter, requires occasional irrigation

Source: Duble, Richard L.; Zoysiagrass     Landry, Gill. Jr.: Zoysiagrass Lawns

Grass Plot 6   Zoysia Grass  'El Toro'
Pro:
• El Toro is a coarse leaf Zoysia; more shade-tolerant than the narrow leaf varieties of Zoysia
• Goes dormant in a drought, but greens up quickly when moisture returns
• Relatively free of serious pest problems
• Very wear-resistant, good for golf courses, public grounds
• Extremely dense turf that can choke out weeds
Con:

• Difficult to mow; requires a strong mower and well-sharpened blades
• Slower to spread than Bermuda or St. Augustine
• More expensive than Bermuda, Buffalo, or St. Augustine
• Thatch buildup is significant; requiries dethatching every 2 - 3 years
• Though dormant in winter, requires occasional irrigation

Source: Duble, Richard L.; Zoysiagrass     Landry, Gill, Jr.: Zoysiagrass Lawn

Grass Plot 7   Thunder Turf   Seeded May 4, 2013
Pro:
• A drought-tolerant seed-blend of Buffalograss, Curly Mesquite and Blue Grama from Native American Seed in Junction, TX
• Can be mowed at 4 - 6 inches or not at all
• Leave high in winter
• Thrives in the harshest of climates; can withstand temps from 1 to 110Ί F
• Once established, it does not have to be watered
• Larger areas will establish without irrigation, but it helps if the planting is well timed with seasonal rains
Con:

• Appearance is less manicured and more natural-looking than non-native turf grasses
• Over-managing by frequent watering and fertilizing encourages weed growth over turf growth


Source: Native American Seed, Junction Texas

Grass Plot 8   Buffalo Grass Density

Pro:
• Buffalo grass is a Texas native and the most drought-tolerant turf
• Density is fine-textured with good green color, ideal for residential and commercial sites
• Best choice for natural area with limited mowing (frequent mowing encourages weed growth)
• Can survive extreme drought though may turn brown temporarily
• Not aggressive, easily removed from gardens and flowerbeds
Con:
• Density is best achieved using plugs, sprigs, or sod for best results
• Not adapted to shade or to sites that receive heavy traffic
• Common Bermuda nearby can be a serious “weed” problem and nearly impossible to remove


Source: Duble, Richard L.; Buffalo Grass


Grass Plot 9   Habiturf*    Seeded May 4, 2013
   *A new seed blend developed and tested by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Composed mainly of buffalograss, this mix also contains hairy grama, sideoats grama, blue grama and curly mesquite

Pro:
• Can be mowed at 4 - 6 inches or not at all
• Leave high in winter
• Needs less mowing, watering and weeding than most grasses
• Replicates nature’s short-grass prairies
• Once established, irrigation may be stopped to save water and allow the grass to go brown and dormant
Con:

• Appearance is less manicured and more natural-looking than non-native turf grasses
• Over-managing by frequent watering and fertilizing encourages weed growth over turf growth

Source: HABITURF, The Ecological Lawn, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
* Seed donated by Douglass King Seeds, San Antonio Texas

 

 
 

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