New Chandler homeowners may find maintaining a yard in the Sonoran Desert a daunting task, but start with one of the best grass types for desert conditions and extreme heat.

    Homeowners will want a warm-season grass with high heat tolerance. With summer temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, you’ll want your lawn to avoid heat stress. 

    Bermudagrass is a popular grass type here in Arizona. The turf’s high heat tolerance and drought tolerance enables it to thrive in Arizona’s climate. Chandler homeowners have plenty of Bermudagrass hybrids to choose from, as well as St. Augustine and Zoysia cultivars. 

    When choosing a grass type for your lawn, consider your preferred maintenance level. Will a low-maintenance lawn fit better with your lifestyle? Take into account how much foot traffic you expect your turf to experience. If your family enjoys outdoor volleyball games and barbecues, choose a grass type with a high wear tolerance.

    The Arizona Cooperative Extension recommends five bermudagrass hybrids and sod selections that make the greenest and easiest to maintain lawn in Arizona. Be aware that each grass type has different tolerances and care levels.

    1. Midiron

    This bermudagrass hybrid makes an optimal lawn for homeowners living in desert areas. It’s an excellent turf for parks and schools due to its high foot traffic tolerance. 

    Midiron has a coarse leaf texture and is blue-green in color. It has a moderate salt tolerance and is drought tolerant, heat tolerant, and weed resistant.

    Classification: Warm-season grass.

    Spreads by: Rhizomes (underground stems) and stolons (above-ground stems).

    Shade tolerance: Low.

    Drought tolerance: High.

    Foot traffic tolerance: High. This rough, durable turf recovers well from damage.  

    Maintenance needs: Midiron is a popular lawn option due to its low maintenance needs.

    Recommended mowing height: Mow to an optimal height between 0.5 to 2-inches. 

    2. Santa Ana 

    The University of California developed Santa Ana bermudagrass in 1966. This deep blue-green turf became popular in bermudagrass growing areas around and outside of California. 

    This grass has a high tolerance for smog, which discolors Tifway and Tifgreen varieties. It has good salt tolerance, a short dormancy, and is one of the most drought-tolerant hybrid bermudagrasses. 

    Santa Ana makes an excellent turf for golf courses, athletic fields, playgrounds, and lawns. It has a medium-fine texture and an excellent fall color retention. 

    Classification: Warm-season grass. 

    Spreads by: Stolons. 

    Shade tolerance: Low. 

    Drought tolerance: High

    Foot traffic tolerance: High. This grass has rapid recovery after damage. 

    Maintenance needs: This turf accumulates thatch that will need careful management. It also requires frequent mowing. 

    Recommended mowing height: This turf thrives best at heights below 1.25-inches. 

    3. Tifgreen 328

    Tifgreen 328 is a hybrid Bermudagrass that thrives in a warm climate and has moderate salt tolerance. Its high wear tolerance makes it a great turf option for golf courses and lawns with high foot traffic. 

    This fine-textured turf is bright green. It’s a low-growing grass that can handle recycled irrigation water and spreads rapidly. 

    Classification: Warm-season grass. 

    Spreads by: Stolons

    Shade tolerance: Low. 

    Drought tolerance: Moderate. 

    Foot traffic tolerance: High. 

    Maintenance needs: This turf requires a low to moderate level of maintenance. Dethatch this grass at least once every two years. It is resistant to disease and requires mowing every 5 to 7 days. 

    Recommended mowing height: Mow this grass to a height between 0.5 to 1-inch with a sharp rotary mower. 

    4. Palmetto St. Augustine

    This coarse-textured grass thrives in desert areas and is bright green. It has high salt-resistance and is the most heat-tolerant of all St. Augustine cultivars. 

    Palmetto St. Augustine withstands a broad spectrum of climate and soil conditions. It is susceptible to insects and disease and makes a popular turf through the southern United States. 

    Classification: Warm-season grass. 

    Spreads by: Stolons. 

    Shade tolerance: Thrives in full sun. It does well in partial shade, but not in dense shade.

    Drought tolerance: Moderate to high.

    Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate

    Maintenance needs: Palmetto St. Augustine is a low maintenance turf. 

    Recommended mowing height: Mow this turf to a height between 1.5 to 2.5-inches.

    5. El Toro Zoysia grass

    This medium-textured grass develops a dense cover that tolerates lots of foot traffic. It greens in early spring, provides erosion control, and is resistant to rust disease. 

    This Zoysia cultivar has a high drought tolerance and conserves moisture very well. 

    Classification: Warm-season grass. 

    Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes. 

    Shade tolerance: Can tolerate light shade. 

    Drought tolerance: High. 

    Foot traffic tolerance: High. 

    Maintenance needs: Needs dethatching every two years. It is resistant to diseases and pests and will grow in most soil types. This turf requires less irrigation than other grasses. 

    Recommended mowing height: Mow to a height between 1 to 2-inches once a week.

    If you know you are going to be hot in Chandler, you should try to be kind to your turf and select a best grass type for a desert climate. Then you can hold as many barbecues outside as you can stand in the heat.

    Or, better yet, hold those barbecues until the fall or winter.

    To learn about the greater Phoenix area (most Instagrammable spots, gardening tips, and pictures of life in the Valley of the Sun), check out our lawn care in Arizona page. We also can help you find a lawn care pro in Chandler to brave the heat to mow your lawn while you stay cool inside.

    Main Photo Credit: Sunbird Golf Resort, Chandler, Arizona / trolvag / CC BY-SA