I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about the best type of grass seed to plant. My answer is two part –
1) the ground temp is still a bit cool to germinate all of the seed, so I’d suggest waiting a couple of weeks;
2) are you planting in sun or shade?
Common Bermuda is the most economical grass to plant and the most forgiving. It germinates in 5-10 days and grows in most soil conditions and is drought resistant. It will spread and cover your yard quickly. It does best in sun and does not do well in shade.
Centipede Grass germinates slower than Bermuda – up to 30 days. It also prefers sun but will tolerate shade. It is an aggressive grower when healthy and will choke out weeds and other grasses. Being heat tolerant and low-maintenance it is a favorite in East Texas.
Zoysia Grass is a dense turf and once established creates a thick lawn that also chokes out weeds. However, getting it established from seed can take a long time. Germination is 21 days, but its growth rate is so slow most people choose to plant with plugs or sod. It prefers sun but tolerates more shade than Bermuda.
Methods for planting warm season grass seed can be spreading seed directly with a seed spreader or through hydromulching. This is a method of mixing a slurry of water, mulch, seed and fertilizer and spraying it on your soil through a hydroseeding machine.
There is no warm season grass seed that performs well in the shade in our area. The best grass for shade is St. Augustine but can only be planted from plugs or sod.
I have a weakness for Ornamental Grass. They look good as a single plant swaying in the breeze and are stunning in mass plantings.
They do require annual trimming to look their best. I usually leave mine untrimmed until the
first of February since I like the straw color and winter interest they
create. There are many different tools
that can be used and it depends upon what you are most comfortable with and the
type of grass you are trimming.
The goal is to cut the grass down to the correct
height. A grass that grows to 3’ or
under should be cut back to a height of 3 inches and taller grasses should be
cut to 6 inches. If you cut too low, you
risk cutting into the crown of the plant which can result in loss of clumps
throughout the plant.
Dress for the job – wear a long-sleeved shirt and gloves so the grass blades don’t irritate your skin.
Tools for the job
Powered hedge trimmers
Bungee cord or twine
Weed eater with a brush blade
You won’t need all of these – remember, I said there were
several methods, and each has its preferred tools. You can choose the one(s) you are most
comfortable working with and gives you the best results.
Helpful Hint – Gather the grass like a big ponytail and wrap the bungee cord around the clump. The grass will stay bundled as you trim and not scatter everywhere. This also makes cleanup so much easier since you can dispose of the cut clump as one large piece instead of hundreds of blades.
Start Trimming – Use the cutting tool(s) of your choice to cut through the grass. The large, established grasses may require more than pruning shears – this is where the power tools such as the weed eater with a blade or powered hedge trimmers or even a chain saw for Pampas grass is necessary. It is helpful to have a friend hold up the clump so it doesn’t fall on you as you cut.
Neatening Up – After the main clump has been cut and disposed of then finish up by making the cut uniform. You many want to spread a fresh layer of mulch to cover up the many fine pieces of the grass blades that are scattered about.
Fall is an excellent time to show off your seasonal
favorites like mums, pansies, violas, and flowering kale or cabbage. Play with
colorful and dynamic combos of perennials, annuals and grasses to create
Use solid colored Pansies in orange and velvety black
to make the perfect Hallow’s Eve arrangement. Place in a black or silver
container for a super spooky addition to your front porch Jack O’Lanterns.
Use a variety of colorful Pansies
as a filler against an evergreen, like an Arborvitae or a Blue Point
Juniper, with a classical ivy, like English Ivy for a formal
Use different varieties of Dianthus to create a full
container – pair with a neutral pot to really show off the bold colors.
Make a MUM-KIN! Cut out the top of a pumpkin and
plant your favorite fall Mum. Use orange or yellow for a consistent
color scheme or add pink or purple for a deep contrast against the orange of
Strawberry Jar Planters can be used in more ways than one!
Plant Violas in different shades for an incredible ‘spill’ effect.
Create a sunny disposition, even
in fall! Plant yellow Pansies(with and without a ‘face’) to
create a trio of gold on your porch. Add a fountain grass for a ‘thriller’ to
really draw attention!
Have stairs leading up to your home? Create a stair-step
quattro of planters with Violas. Use different style pots with the same
variety of Violas to create a stunning look on your stairs!
Have fun with Succulents in fall too! Just like our Mum-kin
(pictured above) plant succulents in pumpkins and spray paint
the pumpkins in neutral tones to make these desert gems stand out.
Do you have bare spots in your yard where grass won’t grow? Under a large tree that is too shady for
grass? A slope or steep area? If you’ve answered “YES!” to any of these
questions, you may need a groundcover to solve your issue.
What is a groundcover? The definitive answer would be
“Any one of a group of low-lying plants with a creeping, spreading habit that
are used to cover sections of ground with minimal maintenance.”
Groundcovers can be used in so many ways:
mass plantings in your actual landscape,
adding color to a rock garden,
use in skinny walkway beds,
introducing new colors and textures to your
Also known as ‘Bugleweed’
This evergreen perennial (stays green all year) has a ground-hugging habit of growth. Ajuga sends up beautiful electric blue blooms that rise above its foliage from mid to late spring. It attracts butterflies but not deer. Ajuga loves to spread, plant in part-shade, and watch her thrive!
Also known as ‘Maleberry’
Japanese Ardisia shows off a rich, green color and dainty
clusters of pink star-shaped flowers at the ends of its branches during spring,
and red berries in mid fall. This multi-stemmed evergreen shrub is perfect for
areas that are shaded, moist and cool. Reaching a spread of 3 feet, this
part-shade to full shade lover makes for an excellent groundcover (and an
Also known as ‘Carex’
Sedge is a vigorous, mound-forming evergreen with striking,
grassy foliage. The gracefully arching stems of this plant bring a fine and
delicate addition to any garden. This groundcover is relatively
low-maintenance, and does well in partial shade or full shade, and spreads up
to 16 inches. Many native varieties of Sedge cultivar are right here among us
in East Texas! Sedge makes a great border edging, mass planting, and also works
well in mixed containers.
Also known as ‘Heuchera’
Coral Bells is an evergreen perennial with tall flower stalks
held atop a low mound of foliage. These tiny, delicate flowers come in as many
colors as its foliage does, from lime green to purple! This low-growing plant
is relatively low-maintenance and a good choice for attracting butterflies.
Coral Bells are perfect for containers, mass plantings, borders and rock
gardens. This evergreen can take full sun or full shade and can spread up to 18
Showing out in a rich, emerald color, Pachysandra is an
evergreen that looks amazing year-round. Spreading up to 1 ½ feet at maturity,
this perennial does best in part shade to morning sun. The bold, dark green
leaves make for a fantastic groundcover, or border for walkways. Small, bright
white flowers appear in early spring – though not particularly showy, the
flowers offer an ornate addition against the green background.
‘Blue Rug’ Juniper
This ground-hugging Juniper features silvery-blue foliage
that takes on a nearly purple tinge during winter and produces blue berries
from late spring to late winter. A dense, multi-stemmed evergreen, ‘Blue Rug’
Juniper is extremely adaptable and hardy – making for a great groundcover or
border, or even trailing over walls. A lover of full sun to part shade, this
Juniper can reach a spread of up to 7 feet!
Also known as ‘Moss Phlox’
Creeping Phlox puts on a show of bright, cherry red, blue or
white star-shaped flowers at the ends of the stems from early to late spring.
It’s tiny, needle-like leaves remain green in color throughout the year. This
evergreen blanket of flowers does best in full sun to part-shade, which makes
it perfect for border edging, mass planting or general ground cover. At
maturity, Creeping Phlox can spread up to 18 inches.
Ground cover sedums are a form of succulents that are winter
hardy and stay green throughout the year.
These are heat loving plants that grow well in full sun or partial sun
and are drought tolerant! They come in a variety of colors, some have
variegated leaves and bloom in late Summer through Fall. Use in rock gardens, as ground cover in
landscape beds, as spillers in containers or in hanging baskets.
Also known as ‘Ice Plant’
This is a multi-purpose plant with succulent type foliage. It blooms in bright colors from Spring
through Fall, stays green throughout the winter, loves full sun and heat but
will also perform in partial sun. Good
for rock gardens, a spiller in containers, and in hanging baskets.
Standard Mondo Grass
This old standby is an evergreen perennial with grass like
stems and small purple flower spikes which bloom throughout the Spring and
Summer. It is slow growing and spreads
through runners. It can be easily divided
and moved to other areas and requires minimal care once established. Mass plantings are striking – giving the
appearance of a deep green lawn. Plant
in shade or part shade.
This woody stemmed favorite grows well in a variety of soils
and conditions. It is a great erosion
control on slopes and on the side of creeks or ditches. It can be cut with a weedeater or even with a
mower set on the highest setting if it becomes too tall for the area. Plant in partial sun to full sun.
Another shade loving groundcover which keeps its dark green
color year-round. This plant runs along
the ground and sets roots along the stem.
It can become invasive and grow up into trees if not contained.
Evergreen flowering herb that is covered with a blanket of
pink-purple blossoms in the Spring. It
can handle some light foot traffic and reaches a height of 3”. Grows in full sun to partial shade.