Just as with any plant, the best way to make sure that the grass in your Texas yard thrives is by planting native variants. Fortunately, there are several hardy and beautiful native Texas grasses which will make your landscaping more attractive. Here are the 10 best native grass types to plant in your North Texas yard:
1. Buffalo Grass
Bouteloua dactyloides – commonly known as Buffalo grass – is one of the few lawn grasses that are native to North Texas, and it’s highly drought-resistant. This grass only needs an inch and a half of rain each month to stay green. While most plants don’t take well to the clay soils of North Texas, Buffalo grass actually prefers clay.
The female, seed-bearing variants can be used as accent grass.
2. Blue Grama
If you want your Buffalo grass lawn to be even hardier, mix in some Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis). This plant is even more drought-resistant than Buffalo grass (needing less than 7 inches of rain annually), though it’s not technically a turf grass since it will sprout seedheads if left to grow too tall.
These seedheads, however, make it a good ornamental grass if left to grow because the seedheads have the ability to turn an alluring blue-green color – hence the name.
This perennial grass is one of the few native Texas grasses that is solely used as turf. It’s both heat and cold tolerant and has an affinity for dry, rocky soils. Curly-mesquite requires very little water or care and can withstand disturbance well.
4. Big Bluestem
Andropogon gerardii is known as Big Bluestem due to its blue-green stems; it’s also known as Turkeyfoot due to the tendency of the seedheads to branch into three parts. It’s a great ornamental grass that will add a subtle pop of blue to your yard.
Big Bluestem is often found in Texas prairies and attracts birds and butterflies. It can withstand both droughts and the flooding often found in drought-affected areas.
5. Little Bluestem
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is also known as Little false bluestem due to its tendency to be confused with the Big Bluestem. This is a more versatile ornamental grass than Big Bluestem because the stalks are blue-green in spring, reddish-tan in fall, and covered in fuzzy white seeds in winter.
If you want a subtle pop of gold in your yard, Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) is a great plant to consider. This is a tall (3-8 ft.) grass with golden-brown seed heads that turn deep orange in fall. Like most of the grasses on this list, Indiangrass does well in clay and loam soils. If you like butterflies, you’ll be happy to know that this plant attracts Pepper-and-Salt Skippers.
7. Texas bluegrass
Narrow blue-green leaves and 2-3 foot fluffy silver flowers characterize Texas bluegrass. It has a higher need for water than other native Texas grasses in order to fuel the beautiful silver-white flowers that come out in spring.
Switchgrass is an ornamental grass that can add a touch of purple to your yard in the fall due to its seedheads. A mixture of its appearance and its Latin name (Panicum virgatum) give the plant its other name – Wand panic grass.
Switchgrass is usually 3-6 feet tall and prefers damp soil.
9. Blue Muhly
Between the other four blue grass options, you may be thinking that you have enough blue in your yard – but what about silver? Some of the leaves on the Muhlenburgia lindheimeri are indeed blue, but their spendor pales in comparison to the plant’s dazzling silver seedheads. This 2-5 foot perennial sprouts in a fountain-like form and thrives in limestone and clay soils.
The genus and species names of the Blue Muhly are named after two famous 18th and 19th Century botanists – Heinrich Muhlenberg and Ferdinand Lindheimer.
10. Eastern Gamagrass
Decide whether you want orange or purple in your yard before adorning your yard with Eastern gamagrass. Male versions of this plant have striking orange seeds, while female versions have subtle purple stigmas.
While gamagrass is usually 2-3 feet tall, it can grow as tall as 10 feet. If you have a lot of deer around your property, this plant may not be the best option since deer love to eat gamagrass seeds.
Are you tired of your non-native grasses always dying? Ready to add a bit of colored ornamentation to your North Texas yard? Landscape By Design can help. They’re experts in native landscape design and would love to help you transform your garden.