Last updated: November 17, 2020

Growing Grass in a Desert Climate

Published 11:58 pm

Introduction

We all desire to have our lawn full of luscious green grass, but it is one thing to desire something, and it is another thing to have that thing. When it comes to growing lawns, there is a lot of work involved, and some factors make the job easier or tougher; and prominent among these factors is climate. Climate plays an important role in many areas, and when it comes to growing lawns, it decides a lot. Lawns tend to grow luxuriantly in wet and cooler climes than areas that are hot and dry.

Understanding the role climate plays is important. It will help inform how to go about growing lawns in areas with different climates, especially if you live in desert areas in some parts of the US. Like said earlier, it is harder to grow grasses in areas like this, and sustaining that growth can be even harder. But that has not stopped some areas in such environments from having some of the best and consistent lawns. How these kinds of lawns occur in areas with desert climate is not rocket science, and to prove that is why this article has been prepared. It will bring ease to your work of growing a lush green lawn at your house, even if it is located in an area with a desert climate. In this guide, we will also explore other factors that influence the development of a good lawn.

Are you growing the right type of grass?

There are various types of grass, and it is interesting to know that their numbers are relatively high, with each type possessing a distinctive feature that separates it from the rest. These features include their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Some grasses tend to perform better than others under certain conditions, which includes climate. Some will perform excellently in areas with arid and dry climate while some will perform woefully under those conditions. Knowing the type of grass that suits a desert climate is the first step to growing a long-lasting lawn.

Desert climate is extreme, and it can worsen, which is why grasses that can survive in environments like this are ideal. Also, some grasses are more resistant to disease infections or pests.

However, some grasses possess both qualities; that is, they can withstand tough weather conditions and are also resistant to diseases and pests. Grasses with these features are worth investing in.

It is recommended that you get grasses that you get various varieties of the grass you want you to settle for, as this will help improve its resilience further and reduce the rate at which diseases will likely spread. It will contribute heavily to the success of your lawn, especially in the event of spreading infection.

Grass Species That Excel in a Desert Climate

Generally, there are different climates worldwide, but most revolve around warm and cool climatic conditions, and grasses thrive in different seasons; some perform excellently in warm seasons, and those that do the same in the cool season. The ideal grass for a desert climate is grasses that thrive in warm seasons; they are also known as warm-season grasses, making such grasses the ideal candidates for dry areas such as the southwestern part of the US and other areas in the world with a desert climate.

Instead of dying, the grasses get dry and remain that way until they are wetted, so without water, you can be assured that your grasses are not affected, another reason that makes them suitable for the desert.

One of the best grasses that suit this description is the Bermuda grass, and it is also one of the most widespread species in the category of warm-season grasses. They are coarse and hardy. This common grass is coarse and hardy and is resilient in extreme weather conditions. The Bermuda grass is also easy to acquire because they are also available in the form of seeds, making it easy to move them in large quantities compared to most warm-season grasses that are only available as either plugs or sprigs

Bermuda grass is known to grow relatively fast, and they recover faster even in children play areas or areas where there is heavy foot traffic. However, this fast growth can be too much sometimes, especially for smaller lawns.

How to Prepare the Soil for Planting Desert Climate

Another important factor to consider is the soil of the area. The soils in desert areas are usually rocky and compact, making them poor candidates for growing grass. However, all hope can’t be lost as you can prepare the soil to accommodate your grass irrespective of what you are growing it from, which can be plugs, sods, or seeds.

Firstly, you dig the soil down to about six inches and mix it several times. You should break the hard and compact part of the soil. The soil particles must be small, as this will aid the proper growth of the grassroots.

Add nutrients after breaking the soil because desert soils are usually poor in plants’ nutrients, including grass. The soils in these environments are usually alkaline, and their quantities are not the best for grasses. Therefore, gypsum needs to be added to the soil to reduce the soil’s alkalinity.

Add compost two inches into the soil and mix thoroughly. It also helps to improve the soil’s organic nutrient. Then add a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in adequate quantities on the soil.

Seed vs. sod

You can plant your grass as a seed, plug, or sod. However, seeds and sods are the most common form in which grasses are planted. Some grasses can be planted in sod form, while some can be planted as seeds. However, not all of them are warm-season grasses. Planting grasses in these forms has its advantages and disadvantages. Let us explore both.

It is relatively affordable and easy to get grass seeds, and one of the most common examples is the Bermuda grass. However, one of the major challenges of grass seeds is that they are hard to grow than sod, especially when the weather is extreme.

They tend to take longer to grow, and their growth may not be well distributed if the soil is poor, and this is a characteristic of desert soils. They also take a long time before they start to develop resistance against weeds and other issues that can mitigate growth. So, they need closer monitoring and require more in terms of maintenance.

Sod, on the other hand, is a relatively more expensive option when starting a lawn. However, sod tends to grow relatively faster and excels in extreme weather conditions better than seeds lawns. They are not as abundant as seeds on the downside, and they are relatively harder to transport. It is also essential to ensure that they don’t wilt before planting as they have higher chances of dehydrating, so pay attention and take necessary precautions where needed.

Your soil elevation also matters; sod grasses are ideal if the lawn is located on a steep slope. This is because steep slopes are susceptible to erosions, and sods are not affected by this than seed grasses, which will easily be removed by erosion.

Planting Grass Seeds in a Desert Climate

With the right soil, you should have no problem planting grass seed in a desert climate. Ensure that the soil surface is smooth and level as an uneven lawn can lead to an undesirable lawn with patches. Plant the seeds and ensure that they are evenly spread on the soil; you can do this with the aid of a push spreader. Then add compost on top of them as this will help to retain water. Water them frequently but ensure that the water is not too much while still monitoring the seeds.

Protecting Grass Sod from Heat

After preparing your soil, you should not encounter any serious issues along the way. However, sods have high chances of dehydrating under extremely hot and dry desert climate conditions. So, if you are not planting them immediately, you will have to make provisions to keep them fresh and moist. It is vital to note that they cannot grow when dry. So, ensure they are moistened and kept cool, especially the sod rolls.

Conclusion

The harsh conditions of the desert make it unsuitable for the growth of plants, which includes grasses. However, it does not mean that it is impossible. This guide has shed some light on that fact. You will find it relatively easier to grow your lawn by following the instructions discussed above.

Ensure you pick the right grass by researching grasses that perform well in arid conditions as well as possess high levels of resistance to diseases and pests. Take the necessary precautions that will ensure the survival of your grass, whether it is in seed form or sod form, and in no time, you will have an Eden in the desert, which will also need constant mowing.