Warm Season Grass


It’s been decades since Wichita has experienced a devastating drought that occured between 2010 and 2013. This drought left it’s legacy: water will cost everyone a lot more money, causing many changes in the way we manage our landscape. There are only two water sources:

City Water: Homeowners relying completely for water from the city have been affected the most. Changes will continue. Rates have gone up and will continue. There is a good chance restrictions could come someday.

Well Water: Except for the cost of the well, water has been free for well owners. It would be unrealistic to expect this to continue. Many wells have dried up, or water levels have dropped requiring well owners to dig deeper. Eventually meters on all wells will be required; this is already the case for wells irrigating more than two acres.

Days of indiscriminate copious use of water will eventually come to an end in Wichita. Whether it was your choice or not, having a warm season lawn is one of the most significant ways to save water. Lawn watering represents the largest amount of outdoor residential water use during summer. Warm season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, buffalograss) not only require much less water to stay green during the hot/dry Wichita summers, but their shorter season means much less water use as well. All the way around warm season lawns use a fraction of water to be attractive.

Not only do warm season lawns require much less water to have a nice lawn, but if a scenario forces a warm season lawn owner not to water, then chances are your lawn will only go dormant. Fescue lawns owners will end up with possibly a lot of expensive repair work. Though a warm season lawn can sustain damage in extreme drought, more than likely it will only go dormant and green back up next summer with the return of moisture. This means a double water saving benefit to having a warm season lawn.

The economic and environmental benefits of a warm season lawn are significant. CustomWise Turf & Tree strongly encourages all homeowners with warm season grass to keep and maintain this important asset by following these suggestions:

1.)    If you ever become tempted to kill out your warm season lawn and replace it with a fescue: DON’T! Cool season lawns are much more expensive and difficult to maintain than warm season lawns. It’s a sad fact that 1,000’s of warm season lawns in Wichita have been killed out over the last 30 years, and replaced with fescue for no important reason, other than it was just popular.

2.)    Do everything you can to keep as much sunlight on your lawn as possible. Yes, shade is very beneficial to humans during hot summer weather – so keep the shade on your house, driveway, and deck/patio, but not on your lawn. Warm season grasses have absolutely no shade tolerance: You will only end up with dead areas in shade that will require alternative landscaping. It is important to continually keep trees trimmed back.

3.)    Be careful when landscaping and planting trees. Planting with a plan can add important shade where it’s needed, and enhance your property – planting indiscriminately will only cause big dead areas in your lawn.

4.)    Do not water when your warm season grass is dormant, as this only encourages weeds. Only water when your lawn is actively growing, when it’s over 90° degrees, and when we are not receiving rain. During extreme hot weather, you can keep a warm season lawn green by soaking one to three times a week. Do not water buffalo.

5.)    Scalping and/or dethatching a warm season lawn in spring before applying preemegent, and aerating a warm season lawn growing in heavy clay in June can both help make watering more effective.


CustomWise is always available as a resource to help you come up with ways to save water and maintain your important investment.