Lawn Management

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Turfgrass selection 

Turfgrass often makes up the largest area in the landscape. While warm-season grasses, like bermudagrass, are drought resilient, it's easy to over water. A few simple lawn management tips will keep your lawn growing with less water.

Plant a turfgrass that is adapted to Oklahoma's weather and rainfall. Make a note of your site conditions before selecting a turfgrass, avoid planting tall fescue in full sun areas and keep in mind it requires twice as much water as bermudagrass. Consider using tough, shade-tolerant perennials and mulch in shaded areas that require less maintenance and water than cool-season grasses.

Types of turfgrass:

Turfgras

Sun requirements 

Heat tolerance 

Irrigation Requirement

 Warm-Season Turfgrass Type

 Bermudagrass

Full sun 

Excellent 

Low 

 Buffalograss

Full sun 

Excellent 

Low 

 Zoysiagrass

Full sun to light shade 

Excellent 

Medium

Cool Season Turfgrass Type

 Tall fescue

Shaded areas 

Good

High 

 Kentucky bluegrass

Shaded areas 

Marginal 

High 

 Perennial ryegrass

Shaded areas 

Marginal 

High 

Table adapted from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Factsheet L-437

Be a water wise irrigator 

Water deeply and infrequently to encourage strong, deep root growth.Check for the first signs of wilt before watering. Use the cycle and soak approach, turn on irrigation and turn it off at the first sign of runoff and allow water to soak into the soil, turn the system back on and repeat. Use a rain gauge or tuna can as a guide. Bermudagrass lawns need about 1" of water a week during the hottest month and tall fescue lawns need about 2" per week. Take rainfall into account and turn your system off to avoid waste. Visit the irrigation schedule page for more information.

Manage for water efficiency

Mow at a taller height, grass acts like a natural mulch retaining soil moisture and also shading out weeds. mowing too low stresses turfgrass and requires more frequent watering. Use a mulching lawn mower or compost grass clippings to keep valuable nutrients onsite rather than in the landfill.

Aerate the lawn to alleviate compaction and increase water infiltration. Topdressing with no more than 1/2" of compost will provide beneficial nutrients and improve water holding capacity of the soil. Only fertilize when needed, and always take a soil test first.