Yes, there are several types of grass that require little to no mowing, including:
- Buffalo grass
For many homeowners, mowing the lawn is one of the least enjoyable chores. It’s time consuming, noisy, and in the hot summer months, downright unpleasant. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a type of grass that just grows slow and doesn’t need frequent mowing? Well, the good news is there are several low maintenance grass varieties that fit the bill.
When looking for a type of turfgrass that requires less mowing, there are a few factors to consider:
- Growth rate – Some grasses grow much more slowly than others, requiring less frequent mowing.
- Climate – What works in one region may not work in another. Matching the grass to your climate is key.
- Maintenance needs – In addition to mowing, maintenance like fertilization and watering impact how fast it grows.
- Shade tolerance – Grasses that grow well in shade likely require less mowing.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best options for low maintenance grasses that don’t need frequent mowing. We’ll look at their characteristics and best uses so you can decide which might be right for your yard.
One of the top choices for a no-mow or low-mow lawn is a fescue grass blend. There are several different fescue species, including tall fescue, chewings fescue, and hard fescue. These bunch-forming grasses grow slowly and have a relatively fine leaf texture.
Fescues grow more slowly than many other cool season grass varieties. While they establish quickly, once established, they have slower vertical growth. Fescue blends and mixes will need mowing about once every 7-10 days during the active growing season.
Fescues perform well in cool, temperate climates. They can tolerate cold winters and mild summers. They grow best in regions with cool nights and moderate humidity.
One of the benefits of fescue is relatively low maintenance compared to other grasses. It has good drought tolerance and requires less watering than ryegrass or bluegrass. It also has relatively low fertility requirements, so it doesn’t need heavy nitrogen fertilization.
Fescue stands up well to partial shade, making it a good option for yards with trees or other sources of shade. The fine leaves allow it to persist with less sunlight.
Fescue is an excellent choice for a low maintenance lawn. It can be used for full sun or partially shaded areas. The blend of fescue species provides resilience and adaptability. It’s best suited to northern climates where cool season grasses thrive.
Buffalo grass is a warm season grass native to the Great Plains region. This low-growing, stolon-spreading grass has very high drought tolerance. It greens up late spring and goes dormant early in fall.
Buffalo grass has a notably slow growth rate compared to other grasses. It only needs mowing about once a month during the growing season. The turf spreads by stolons, forming a thick, low carpet of grass.
This native prairie grass thrives in hot, dry climates found in the central plains and southwest. It is extremely drought tolerant and can survive throughout dry summers.
Buffalo grass requires very little maintenance compared to other turf. It has low fertility requirements and needs infrequent mowing due to its slow growth. It also requires much less water than other grasses.
Buffalo grass tolerates partial shade but prefers full sun. It will struggle with dense shade from trees or buildings.
This tough, resilient grass is perfect for xeriscaping and low water landscapes. It provides a lush, green carpet of grass with very little supplemental water in dry climates. The slow growth reduces mowing frequency.
Zoysia is a warm season grass prized for its fine leaves, tolerance of heat and drought, and slow growth. There are several species of zoysia used for lawns.
Zoysia is one of the slowest growing warm season grasses. Once established, it thickens up into a dense carpet of grass that chokes out weeds. Mowing is only required every 10-14 days for zoysia.
Zoysia thrives in hot, humid climates. It tolerates heat, humidity, and drought very well. Zoysia goes dormant sooner than other grasses in fall when temperatures cool.
One of the benefits of zoysia is low maintenance compared to other warm season grasses. Fertilization is only needed a couple times a year. Its slow growth reduces mowing and water requirements.
Most zoysia cultivars prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Dense shade should be avoided for best growth and thickness.
Zoysia provides a lush, thick carpet of grass with very slow vertical growth. It’s an excellent choice for low maintenance lawns in warm, southern climates. The fine-bladed zoysia cultivars are prized for golf courses and sports fields.
Bermuda grass is a resilient warm season grass that spreads aggressively by stolons and rhizomes. It is known for its ability to tolerate heat, drought, foot traffic, and low maintenance.
Bermuda establishes very quickly and spreads rapidly to form a dense turf. However, its vertical growth rate is relatively slow compared to other warm season grasses. Mowing is typically needed every 7-14 days for bermuda.
This grass thrives in hot, humid climates throughout tropical and subtropical regions. Some varieties have good cold tolerance and transition well, while others go dormant with frost.
Bermuda requires less maintenance than other warm season grasses. Due to its aggressiveness, it crowds out weeds when thick. Fertilization and watering requirements are lower.
Bermuda performs best in full sun. It struggles in shady areas and becomes thin. Avoid planting bermuda in dense shade.
This tough, heat-loving grass is perfect for hot southern climates. Its resilience to traffic makes it ideal for lawns, parks, and sports fields. The fast lateral spread results in a thick lawn.
Other Low Maintenance Grasses
In addition to the main low mow options above, there are a few other grasses that may allow for less frequent mowing under certain conditions:
Centipedegrass is a slow-growing, low maintenance turf for warm, humid southern climates. It tolerates acid soils well. Mowing is required every 2-3 weeks.
Fine fescues like hard fescue and sheep fescue have an even slower growth rate than other fescues, for a very low maintenance lawn.
This warm season grass has high salt tolerance, making it ideal for coastal climates. It has a slow growth habit, requiring mowing every 10-14 days.
St. Augustinegrass forms a dense, thick turf with very good shade tolerance. Under low nitrogen, it grows more slowly and needs less mowing.
Choosing the Best Low Maintenance Grass
When selecting a turfgrass for a low maintenance lawn, choose a variety that is well suited to your climate and site conditions. Consider the following:
- For northern cool season climates, fescue blends are an excellent choice.
- In hot, arid regions, buffalo grass thrives with little care.
- For southern lawns, zoysia or bermuda provide lush turf with minimal mowing.
- Look for cultivars bred specifically for slow growth and low maintenance.
- Match the grass to the sun exposure, soil type, and drainage of your yard.
Transition grasses like zoysia gradually go dormant in fall, turning brown. Some homeowners overseed with ryegrass for winter color.
Proper establishment is key to the success of any lawn. Prepare the soil, remove weeds, and seed or sod during the right season. Water appropriately for germination and growth. Most grasses take 1-2 growing seasons to fully establish and thicken up.
Mowing is less frequent for low maintenance grasses but still important. Follow these tips:
- Mow as needed based on growth rate, not a fixed schedule.
- Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade when mowing.
- Use sharp mower blades for a clean cut and healthy grass.
- Leave clippings on the lawn to return nutrients.
- Adjust mowing height based on season and needs.
Choose a grass suited for your climate to reduce watering needs. Prioritize deep, infrequent irrigation to promote deep roots. Avoid frequent, shallow watering which weakens turfgrass. Water early in the morning.
Use a balanced fertilizer a couple times a year, adjusting for soil test results. Over-fertilization causes excessive growth requiring more frequent mowing. Organic fertilization options slowly release nutrients.
Having a beautiful lawn shouldn’t mean being married to your mower. There are low maintenance grass options to reduce mowing frequency while still providing a lush, green landscape. Fescue, buffalo grass, zoysia, and bermuda thrive with less mowing. Just be sure to select varieties suited to your climate and yard conditions. With the right grass in place, you can spend less time mowing and more time enjoying your lawn.