The advantages of warm-season grasses include drought tolerance, shorter mowing height and a shorter mowing season. Two reasons they aren’t often used are that they are slow to green up in the spring and won’t grow in the shade. There is no one type of lawn grass that is best for all purposes.

Join me for a program about warm-season grasses for home lawns at 6:30 p.m. May 23 beginning at 6:30 p.m., which will include a demonstration on plugging Zoysiagrass and a tour of a six-year-old buffalograss lawn. Some common Bermudagrass is also at the program site of 7670 Anderson Ave.

Buffalograss is the only native grass used for a home lawn. One challenge for a buffalograss lawn is the weeds. Even the best buffalograss lawns don’t choke out weeds. The use of herbicides is necessary to have a pure stand of buffalograss. It can be started by seeds, plugs or sod.

Zoysiagrass is very good at choking out weeds. Its canopy is very tight. This growth characteristic means that aeration to manage thatch is required. There is a couple seeded varieties, but plugging or sod is more common. The variety “Innovation” is one that K-State has been involved in developing.

Bermudagrass is an attractive grass for home lawns but is used more for sports fields. It has great recovery from damage with its rhizome and stolon growth. On the downside, those rhizomes and stolons also grow into undesired places in the landscape. There are herbicides that aid in managing these situations. The variety “Midlawn” was developed at K-State.

Fertilizer applications for these turfgrasses occur during the time of active growth. Late May or June is best for getting these warm-season grasses growing.

Depending on the grass and its use, a second application may be put on in July. Keep the fertilizer on the grass. Sweep up any excess that gets on the sidewalk, curb and driveway.

Warm-season grasses grow best at air temperatures of 85 to 90 degrees. It is time to get ready for their optimum growing season.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at

Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: