Bermuda vs. Grama

Bermuda “Devil Grass” vs. Grama Grass (Bouteloua)

Fanciful Grama Grass charmed Dwell goers! We received so many questions about the delicate seed heads that seemed to dance on the air conditioned breeze. This charmer and Bermuda grass are both touted by many as drought tolerant turf. If you are deciding whether to hang out with Grama or head towards Bermuda, we’d love to help you choose!

Bermuda (Cynodon Dactylon) “Devil’s Grass”

While Bermuda grass may have made it to North America via Bermuda, it originated in the Middle East – no wonder it is considered drought tolerant! Incredibly hearty, it is often used on golf courses and areas with heavy foot traffic.

While tough and heat resistant, the Devil Grass’ aesthetic leaves so much to be desired we determined not to post a photo here!  A dull green even in its best moments, Bermuda is flat with a creepy crawly texture that, overtime, becomes thick and needs dethatching, a high-maintenance and typically chemically-intense exercise.

Bermuda grass travelled more than 9000 miles to Los Angeles for a reason – it is highly invasive.  It often crawls into flower beds, cracks in concrete, and easily out-competes natives in the garden.  When it reaches our hillsides, it continues to form a dense matt of dry material.   Of course, this is not what our wild spaces need in drought!  So, what’s the alternative?  Time to head to Gramas!

Grama Grass (Bouteloua Gracilia)

Very adapted to our dry and alkaline, low-nutrient soils, Grama grass is perennial, remaining green in mild coastal climates and semi-evergreen elsewhere.  It requires very little water.

Used as an ornamental grass, it enchanted Dwell goers.  It’s chartreuse seed heads hover at a 90 degree angle above its blades and seem to dance like damselflies with the slightest air movement.

While it may look fragile, Grama grass is as tough as nails and tolerates extraordinary foot traffic and even foraging by rabbits. To take advantage of its heartiness as a turf grass, mow monthly for a traditional lawn aesthetic from a sturdy, highly-tolerant lawn. Is it an IdealMow lawn alternative? Absolutely!

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