Drought-Resistant Grasses For Utah Lawns

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Utah's breathtaking landscapes come with a challenge – a semi-arid climate with limited rainfall. Maintaining a lush green lawn can feel like an uphill battle for homeowners. But fear not! You can achieve a beautiful lawn without breaking the bank on your water bill by opting for drought-resistant grasses. Let's explore some fantastic drought-tolerant grass options perfectly suited for Utah's climate and delve into their care requirements.

Tall Fescue

Tall fescue grass up close

This cool-season grass is a popular choice for Utah lawns. It boasts excellent drought tolerance and thrives in both full sun and partial shade. Tall fescue establishes a dense, deep root system that efficiently utilizes available moisture. With moderate to low maintenance needs, it requires less frequent mowing compared to other cool-season grasses.


Buffalograss close up

This warm-season grass is a champion of drought tolerance. Buffalograss goes dormant during the hot summer months, turning brown but remaining healthy. When fall arrives and temperatures cool, it greenens up again.  Buffalograss thrives in full sun and requires minimal mowing, making it ideal for low-maintenance lawns.


Zoysiagrass close up

Known for its wear resistance and fine texture, Zoysiagrass is another excellent option for Utah lawns. It exhibits good drought tolerance and goes dormant during winter.  However, Zoysiagrass is established slowly and requires more water than buffalograss during the establishment phase.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass close up

While Kentucky bluegrass isn't the most drought-tolerant option, it can survive in Utah's climate properly.  This cool-season grass thrives in cooler temperatures and requires more frequent watering than drought-resistant varieties.  If you have a deep affection for bluegrass, consider planting it in areas that receive partial shade and are willing to invest in more frequent watering during dry spells.

Caring For Your Drought-Resistant Lawn

Even drought-resistant grasses need some TLC to thrive. Here are some key care tips:

  • Watering: Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. This encourages the roots to grow deeper and seek moisture.
  • Mowing: Maintain the recommended mowing height for your chosen grass type. Avoid scalping the lawn, which can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to heat and drought.
  • Fertilization: While these grasses require less fertilizer than traditional varieties, a light application in spring and fall can be beneficial. Conduct a soil test to determine specific nutrient needs.
  • Aeration: Aeration improves drainage and allows water and oxygen to reach the grass roots. Consider aerating your lawn every other year.

Additional Tips For Water Conservation

  • Mow High: Taller grass shades the soil, reducing moisture evaporation.
  • Sharpen Your Blades: Dull mower blades tear grass, making it more susceptible to water loss.
  • Mulch Around Trees and Shrubs: Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil surrounding trees and shrubs, reducing the need to water these areas as often.
  • Xeriscaping: Consider incorporating drought-resistant plants and landscaping features into your yard design. This not only conserves water but also adds beauty and visual interest.

You can create a beautiful lawn that complements Utah's stunning landscape by opting for drought-resistant grasses and implementing water-wise practices. Remember, a healthy lawn doesn't require excessive water use. With the right choices and a little TLC, you can achieve a flourishing green space that thrives despite the arid climate.

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