Warm Season Grass……We Believe!

I didn’t get into the landscaping field with the idea to become opinionated….it just happened.  It’s hot outside this week…..bloody hot!  I’m not surprised.  It happens every year doesn’t it?   We experience 4 distinct types of weather in North Carolina and most of the US for that matter.  You don’t have to go far to find places that experience only two seasons, and even those two often aren’t that different.  I suppose the best we can do is stay hydrated, enjoy the A/C when we have it, and continue to marvel at the heat as if it’s impossible.  In fact it is impossible, especially for Fescue grass.


Ben Installing zoysia

This is Ben installing our favorite, Zeon Zoysia

I’ve realized over the past 4 years that you have to have the absolute perfect site to justify Fescue in the piedmont of North Carolina.  I’m talking about Zone 7b for you nuts who know what that means.  Most people who have a decent fescue lawn and work hard to keep up with it know what I’m talking about.  You have a few spots where there is just enough sun vs. shade that the grass isn’t completely toast by mid-June, but most of the yard is a goner.  Believe me when I tell you, you should give it up today.

If you can afford to spend $1.00 to $1.35 per square foot, or you don’t mind busting your tail for a few weekends, you should install a Bermuda or Zoysia lawn.  Let me spell out the pros and cons in list form below.


  1. Never has to be reseeded because it reproduces itself (ie: spreads out and fills in gaps)
  2. Drought Tolerant:  After it’s watered in (most of the 1st growing season) you don’t have to water it unless you want it to look perfect
  3. It’ll be there when you get back: Inevitably, you or someone else at the property is going to spend a year or two or 5 not paying much attention to the grass, but what happens when you decide you want a nice lawn again?  Good news! A warm-season lawn will still be there and all you’ll need is a mower, a little water, and maybe some sort of fertilizer (We recommend compost) to get it back into shape.  You can’t say that for Fescue.
  4. It looks amazing….most warm seasons do anyway.
  5. Slow growing:  Many of the warm season grasses (the zoysias & centipede) can be mowed as few as 10 or 15 times per year.  Compare that to 28 to 32 for Fescue.
  6. Chokes out other weeds:  Most of these grasses will make it difficult for other weeds to grow next to them.  Sure, you’ll have to deal with a few weeds, especially during the establishment period, but nothing like Fescue.
  7. Less water: If you don’t want to have to irrigate, then you don’t.  Don’t misunderstand me either, watering your Warm Season lawn will make it greener, and will make it fill in holes quicker, but if you don’t want to, it will just turn a little grey, shrivel up into survival mode, and waits until the next rain.  A good .25″ or so perks back up and looks good for a few days until it’s hot and dry again.  Or, if you want things ship shape  for the big party, just water for a few days prior to the event, and now you’re lawn is beautiful once again.


  1. Goes dormant or turns brown in the winter.  This is hardly a con for most people.  Besides, you can always overseed with Rye if you’re a Nazi about year-round green grass.
  2. #1 is really the only con.  Are you sold yet?


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