Best Types Of Grass For Desert Climates

Whether you live in the desert or near one, the right grass is essential for a healthy lawn. Grasses are a complex family, with many different growth forms. They have evolved a variety of strategies for avoiding extremes in heat and drought. These include water storage in stem nodes (shrubby grasses) and root crowns (bunch grasses), and periodic physiological dormancy in seeds (annuals). But which grass is best for your desert climate? 

Buffalo Grass 

Buffalo grass is a drought-tolerant grass that needs less water than other types of turf. Moreover, it requires little to no mowing and only needs irrigation once per month. This grass is also resistant to fire and can reseed after a fire. In addition, it can handle a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. Despite its popularity, Buffalo grass can be difficult to establish in some areas, as it is not well-suited for sandy soils and has to adapt to warm weather conditions. However, if you do decide to try this grass, it is a good idea to prepare the soil first by performing a soil test to see what is going on and correcting any deficiencies before you plant. A good rule of thumb is to irrigate the turf lightly and evenly as it establishes. This will help it develop a stronger root system, which will improve its resistance to heat and drought. 

Blue Oat Grass 

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is an excellent choice for adding dramatic color and fine texture to the garden. A low-maintenance pick for calming color year-round, it’s perfect for mass plantings or accent pieces. It’s also an effective partner for companion flower beds and rock gardens, especially when planted with softer colors like soft blue or gold. Blue Oat Grass is a western Mediterranean native that grows well in full sun to part shade. It thrives in a wide range of soil types, including acidic, alkaline, and sandy soils. Plant blue oat grass in well-drained soil and water regularly for the first year to encourage a strong root system. 

Japanese Blood Grass 

Japanese blood grass is a low-maintenance plant that produces color almost all year. The crimson tips add a unique look to your garden landscape. This grass is also drought tolerant and can thrive in well-drained soils. It is suitable for a variety of areas including containers and rock gardens. The clumping form of this grass is ideal for repeat planting to create a sweeping effect. The red foliage is especially attractive when backlit by early morning or late afternoon sunlight. In warmer temperatures, this grass spreads quickly and displaces other plants with its rhizomes. And despite its invasive nature, this ornamental grass is highly prized by gardeners. 

Pampas Grass 

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), also called Spanish broom, is an ornamental grass that adds texture and color to your desert garden. It’s fast-growing and produces showy plumes of white feathers. It is easy to grow from seed and can be planted in early spring. Sow the seeds in a tray and lightly press them on top of well-draining soil, keeping them moist. After 14 to 28 days, the grass sprouts and can be transplanted outside. While pampas grass grows best in full sun, it also tolerates partial shade. This means you can plant it in your desert garden, even if you’re in an area that doesn’t receive much rainfall.