Texas Turf Grass by Wanda Loras.
Seven years ago, I moved to Hunt County. My neighbors told me the soil in our neighborhood would not grow anything. I had many oak trees, sand, weeds and a miniscule amount of Bermuda grass. In my ignorance of what was best for my site, I chose St. Augustine grass.
It would take a book to explain all the problems I have encountered with my St. Augustine turf in the last six years. Due to diseases and not understanding how important soil samples are, I have replaced my lawn two times. Ignorance again.
I was introduced to the Master Gardener program my fourth year in this county and my life changed. Through this program, I learned where I could access a wealth of information on anything Horticulture in nature.
My research for Turf grass recommendations for North East Texas with an emphasis on Hunt County led me to http://aggieturf.tamu.edu. This site will give you much more information than space for this article can possibly cover.
When deciding what turf is best for your location, it is important to select a species adapted to your specific location. Site considerations include: shade or sun, soil depth and quality, intended use (lawn, golf course, or athletic field), amount of traffic, amount of rainfall or irrigation, and level of maintenance.
There are five species of turf that are well adapted for Northeast Texas. Warm season grasses are Bermuda, Centipede, and Zoysia grasses. Cool season grasses are Ryegrass and Tall Fescue.
Bermuda grass has a very low tolerance for shade. Water requirements are moderate to low. Drought tolerance is very good to excellent. Traffic tolerance is high. Cold tolerance is moderate. Salinity tolerance is moderate to high. Disease potential is low to moderate. Mow every 3 to 7 days to maintain a height of 1 to 2 inches. Establish with seed or sod. The seed can be found at garden centers and your local Farmers Co-op.
Centipede grass has a moderate tolerance for shade. Water requirements are moderate. Drought tolerance is moderate. Traffic tolerance is low. Cold tolerance is low. Salinity tolerance is low to moderate. Disease potential is low to moderate. Mow every 7 to 10 days to maintain a height of 1.5 to 2.0 inches. Centipede is especially good for east Texas due to its tolerance for more acidic soils. Centipede is best suited as a low maintenance lawn grass and is best established with sod since seed is slower to cover. However, seed is available for the patient grower.
Zoysia grass has a moderate to high tolerance for shade. Water requirements are moderate. Drought tolerance is very good. Traffic tolerance is moderate to high. Cold tolerance is moderate to high. Salinity tolerance is moderate to high. Disease potential is low to moderate. Mow every 5 to 10 days to maintain a height of .5 to 2.0 inches. Sod is best for establishment.
One section of my yard is now in Zoysia grass. It is doing great. I have Bermuda in sunny locations. My St. Augustine is doing much better but I will eventually replace it because it requires too much water and is prone to so many diseases. I have a section of exposed slightly acidic soil in moderate shade with soil erosion. I think this plot is a good candidate for Centipede grass.