The Best Grass Seed for New Mexico
What New Mexico Grass Seed to Grow on Your Lawn
Lawns in New Mexico experience serious seasonal issues when it comes to weed control. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Cheatgrass, also known as foxtail grass, is an annual weed that harms your lawns and pets.
Its finely barbed seeds can pierce through the skin of your cats and dogs. Moreover, the seeds can dig deep inside the paws of your pets and even go as far as their organs.
Rampant weed growth is one of the side-effects of failing to plant the right New Mexico grass seeds. To counteract the inevitable spread of these invasive plants, you want to cover your garden or lawn with densely growing grass and eliminate bald spots where weeds thrive.
We'll look into the best New Mexico grass seed to plant in your yard or garden and which grass seeds will thrive in your climate in this post.
What is New Mexico’s Climate?
New Mexico is a diverse state with many different average winter temperatures, ranging from zones 4b (as low as -20 to -25°F) to 9a (as low as 20 to 25°F). The lower the zone, the colder the climate of that area.
Knowing which zone you live in New Mexico allows you to determine the type of grass type you can grow on your lawn. For example, northern New Mexico has zones ranging from 4b to 5b which can host plants that thrive in colder, dry climates like evergreens and cacti.
On the other hand, the southern part of New Mexico is known for its desert-like terrain, heat, and overall climate. As such, it receives less than ten inches of rain annually. If you're living in this part of the state, you are more likely to see flowers such as agave plants, ocotillo trees, and plants that thrive in humid climates.
Source: Gardening Know How
Overall, temperatures in the state can be very arid and vary wildly, with lows in the 40's from December to January and highs in the 90s from June to July. The state's rainiest months are July to October, with at least 1 in. of precipitation.
These variable conditions make a world of difference when it comes to choosing the right grass seed for your property’s location. You’ll need to find the temperature zone you live in before considering whether cool-season or warm-season grass varieties are suitable for you.
Best Lawn Grass Seeds for New Mexico
Due to New Mexico's climate, there are two grass seed types to choose from: cold- and warm-season grasses.
Both have distinct characteristics that make them well-suited to particular soil and climate conditions over the others. Each grass seed blend also comes with qualities that help set them apart from other grasses in the same seasonal category. These include:
- Ideal grass height
- Soil type
- Care tips
Source: A Green Hand
It’s wise to start your grass seed planting process with a soil test to determine the pH levels and narrow down your grass type choices.
Since New Mexico’s climate is significantly warmer than the country’s northern states, let’s start with a few warm-season grass varieties you can consider for your property.
Warm-season grasses have high heat and drought tolerance, making them perfect for climates with milder temperatures and less rain. They also tolerate heavy foot traffic, which is good for any lawn with pets and children playing on them.
A warm-season grass goes dormant when temperatures drop below 65º F in the winter. This is why many homeowners opt to overseed with cool-season varieties so they can have a beautiful lawn year-round.
Warm-season grass seeding times are between May 15th to August 1st. To achieve the best results for your warm-season grasses, plant them in June.
Below are the different warm-season grasses to choose from and their characteristics:
- Bermuda grass — As the most commonly used grass in New Mexico, bermudagrass is more drought-tolerant than others. It spreads quickly and grows above and below the ground. Sometimes, it can be a problem when it invades gardens, flower beds, and other places. You can also opt for a bermudagrass variant that tolerates cooler temperatures well.
- Buffalograss — This species of grass needs even less water than others. New varieties of buffalograss are available that are not as dense nor as attractive as traditional lawn grasses. However, this variety works well for people who don't want to spend a lot of time watering their yard. Unlike other grasses, these new types need more weed control when you first plant them.
- Zoysiagrass — Zoysiagrass grows in long, green clumps and can be found on golf courses or parks. The newest varieties are so dense they're practically impenetrable. Unlike bermudagrass, zoysiagrass takes longer to grow.
Growing warm-season grasses is perfect in the southern part of New Mexico, with zones ranging from 6a to 9b.
Cool-season grasses generally grow better in areas with temperatures between 60º and 70º F. They are best for the Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast parts of the state classified under zones 4a to 5b and have long, cold winters.
If you live in these zones, you must plant these grass seeds in the late summer or early fall. This gives them more time to establish themselves before winter arrives when the temperature could drop to as low as -25°F.
If you have cool-season grass on your lawn, be sure to keep its areas watered, fertilized, and mowed adequately. If your lawn is in a shaded area, it may need more water or less water than other sunny locations. It also needs to be fertilized often because it doesn't get all the nutrients it needs from the soil.
Prune cool-season grass at least once a month to remove any dead growth that may have accumulated. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil to help keep it healthy and strong.
Below are the different cool-season grasses to choose from for New Mexico's climate:
- Fine Fescue — It is a type of turf grass that usually requires little maintenance. All varieties are shade tolerant and have delicate leaves, making them perfect for lawns in areas with lots of trees or shady spots.
- Kentucky Bluegrass — This bunch-type turfgrass can withstand moderate traffic and recuperates well from wear injury. Kentucky bluegrass is spread by rhizomes, which means it's excellent for athletic fields because you can use mixtures with perennial ryegrass or tall fescues on them too!
- Perennial Ryegrass — With a newly released variety of perennial ryegrass, your lawn can be well-adapted to most New Mexican climates. It provides good cold tolerance and winter color but only adequate heat tolerance in the summer, even when irrigated heavily.
- Tall Fescue — This variety is excellent for drought tolerance and can be grown in all parts of the state with adequate irrigation. However, this excludes areas in the south prone to invasion by bermudagrass due to more intense heat levels.
Remember that you’re not limited to only one or the other type of grass seed. You can always opt to plant a blend of two grass seed types.
For example, homeowners in the northern regions of New Mexico can opt to plant bermuda grass with zoysia. It is not as heat resistant but will grow better during the winter when it is cold outside, while zoysia becomes dormant.
Find the Best New Mexico Grass Seeds with Nature's Seed
Many factors are involved in choosing the best grass seeds for your lawn or garden in New Mexico. But as long as you know which part of NM you are, you should be able to narrow down your choices among the different warm- and cool-season grasses available.
From here, it's a matter of choosing the one that not only prevents weeds from growing but also looks great in your garden.When you’re ready, choose Nature’s Seed for premium quality lawn seeds and expert guidance to help you achieve your desired look for your property. Contact us today to learn more about grass seed varieties for your state and property needs.