Best Drought Tolerant Lawn Types

Best Drought Tolerant Lawn Types

The drought tolerance of lawns refers to a lawn type’s ability to stay alive and remain green for the longest period of time, while under heavy water restrictions, or when receiving no water at all during summer.

Equally as important when considering the drought tolerance of a lawn variety is the ability of a lawn to recover itself once it has finally browned-off. Meaning that once the lawn looks like it has died-off from lack of water, will the lawn recover and become green again once it begins receiving water again.

For simplicity, we’ll look at the 3 best grass types for drought tolerance and recovery.

Drought Tolerance of Couch Lawns

Couch lawn is one of the better grass types when it comes to the grass remaining green for a longer period of time while under water restrictions.

Once the lawn has finally died-off from heat and lack of water, Couch will also recover the easiest of all the lawn types.

These abilities are due to the natural vigorous survival nature of Couch. The lawn type has large numbers of underground runners which help support the lawn under drought conditions, and will help re-grow the lawn once water becomes abundant again.

Couch variety suggestions are OZTUFF® and Stadium®

Drought Tolerance of Zoysia Grass

Next in line for drought tolerance is a popular native – Zoysia. Zoysia is very similar to Couch as it has a very high ability to remain green and stay alive for longer under water restrictions and summer heat.

Zoysia also has a very good ability to recover after drought conditions have ended. This is heavily due to the fact that Zoysia has underground runners to support the lawn, just like Couch.

In these respects, Zoysia grass types are an excellent choice for homes which face heavy water restrictions combined with summer heat. Zoysia is less aggressive than some other grass types and requires only low overall maintenance. It also maintains a strong green colour.

Zoysia variety suggestions are Native NaraTM and EmpireTM.

Drought Tolerance of Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass comes in third place for drought tolerance. With some very good quality and worthwhile brands of Soft Leaf Buffalo available these days such as, Prestige®, Palmetto® and Sapphire®.

Buffalo is a grass that can tolerate full sun as well as being one of the best shade tolerant grasses used as a home lawn. However, the differences in quality between Buffalo grass grown in full sun when compared to Buffalo in partial shade can be huge. Buffalo is a grass which does seem to prefer some mild shade to bring it to its best possible health and appearance.

Preparing Lawns for Drought Conditions

The moment drought conditions first start arriving, and this can include when heavy water restrictions are put into place – is the same moment that it’s time to start preparing lawns for the greatest chances of ongoing health through these difficult times.

Two strategies can be applied:

  • Start mowing the lawn higher – which will greatly insulate the soil from evaporation – the higher the better during the most difficult times.
  • Stop shallow watering lawns – and try to water less frequently (if you still have access to water) and more deeply. Over time this will greatly reduce water usage on lawns, as well as force the lawn’s root system down deeper into the soil, where the soil is less prone to any type of evaporation from the sun.

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