Choosing the best grass for your Oklahoma lawn will require some study. Many factors can impact the success of your lawn, including water sources, rainfall, and the amount of shade every section of the lawn gets.
Be Ready For Some Heat
Oklahoma summers can be scorching. In fact, temperatures hit an average of 94.9 degrees across the state on the hottest day in Oklahoma history (August 12, 1936). For your lawn, heat tolerant grasses such as Bermuda grass and Buffalo grass may be a great choice. Luckily, there are varieties of Bermuda grass that also tolerates cold, including the Latitude 36(tm) Bermuda grass found on the playing fields of The University of Oklahoma in Norman.
Bermuda grass, once established, is hard to beat. This drought-tolerant grass generally spreads by stolons: above ground runners, or rhizomes: branching roots below the surface of the soil
There are some seed propagated Bermuda grasses, but most homeowners will find that seeding produces a lower quality lawn that takes more time to fill in. If you're putting in Bermuda, sodding may be the faster choice.
Buffalo grass is an excellent option for large lawns with no irrigation. If your lawn gets lots of sun and not much water, buffalo grass will give you a consistent lawn that grows slowly and will survive nearly anything the Oklahoma climate can throw at it. Be aware that this lawn does form seed heads and may not always look its best.
It should be noted that buffalo grass is native to the Midwest from Texas to the Canadian border. When buying buffalo grass seed, be sure to invest in a warm weather tolerant variety. Oklahoma buffalo grass will not survive a South Dakota winter and Dakota buffalo grass won't last and Oklahoma summer!
What To Do In The Shade?
Bermuda and buffalo grasses don't tolerate shade and may die off under trees. Bluegrasses and fescue can work in these sections of your lawn, but be ready to provide this grass with extra water.
Prepare for Drought
Choosing a sod, turf or grass seed in Oklahoma requires an eye toward low levels of water. While Oklahoma has some beautiful water features, such as Turner Falls Waterfall in the Arbuckle Mountains, this region is known for intense summer heat and may not provide homeowners with enough rainfall to keep cool-season grasses such as fescue healthy and thriving.
Watch the Native Grasses
The grasses native to Oklahoma that can be easily mowed and managed include buffalo grass and native Bermuda grasses. Taller grasses may offer more visual variety, but once you mow them you're left with a coarse stub of stalk that's hard to walk on and not visually appealing.Be Patient
Bermuda grasses are good sod options if you need a lawn fast. If you're willing to wait and have a summer to set seed, there are some great Buffalo grass options available. Check with local universities such as the Oklahoma State University and The University of Oklahoma, and county extension offices to see what variety of grass they recommend using.