Are you tired of your lawn looking brown and lifeless during dry summer months? Look no further than our comprehensive guide to the best grass seed for drought-prone areas. With over 30% of the United States currently experiencing drought conditions, choosing the right grass seed is crucial to maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn.

We've done the research and tested various options on the market, taking into account factors such as drought tolerance, growth rate, and overall appearance. Our top picks boast up to 50% less watering needs than traditional grass varieties and have been proven to maintain their green color even in the toughest conditions. Say goodbye to patchy, brown lawns and hello to a thriving oasis with our top recommended grass seed for drought.


If you're struggling with maintaining a green lawn in drought-prone areas, consider these top grass seed recommendations: Tall Fescue, Sheep Fescue, Buffalograss, Wheatgrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass, Centipede grass, and Bahia grass. These varieties have proven to withstand dry conditions with their deep root systems and efficient water usage, requiring up to 50% less water than traditional grasses. For instance, Tall Fescue and Sheep Fescue require minimal irrigation, maintain their color in harsh conditions, and are easy to establish from seed. Buffalograss and Wheatgrass can go dormant during periods of drought and recover well once water is available, while Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass can survive extended drought periods and recover quickly once watering resumes. Zoysia grass, Centipede grass, and Bahia grass are also excellent for their drought resistance, minimal maintenance requirements, and unique aesthetic appeal. For optimal lawn health during droughts, it's crucial to use organic fertilizers, conserve water, and water deeply and infrequently.

Tall fescue

If you live in an area that experiences frequent drought, you might find it challenging to maintain a lush and green lawn. However, with the right grass seed, you can have a verdant lawn even during the driest seasons. One of the best options for drought-resistant grass is tall fescue.

Tall fescue is a narrow-leaved, dark green grass that is ideal for cool-season turf areas. It requires minimal irrigation of one to 1.25 inches of water weekly, making it an excellent drought-tolerant performer. It boasts excellent heat, drought, and shade tolerance, which means it can adapt to a wide range of climates.

If you live in the transition zone and want green turf in the wintertime when warm-season grasses go dormant and turn brown, tall fescue is your best option. It does not spread very rapidly but is easy to establish from seed, making it an ideal choice for those who want a low-maintenance lawn.

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One of the reasons why tall fescue is so drought-resistant is because of its deep root system, which allows it to tolerate cold, heat, drought, and shade very well. Compared to other cool-season grasses, tall fescue is exceptionally disease-resistant and can maintain its lush green color even when other grasses are struggling.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a drought-resistant grass seed that can keep your lawn green and healthy all year long, tall fescue is an excellent choice. It adapts well to a wide range of climates, is disease-resistant, and requires minimal maintenance, making it a top performer for anyone looking for an easy-to-care-for lawn.

Sheep fescue

Looking for the best grass seed for drought conditions can be challenging, but sheep fescue is one type of grass that might perfectly fit your needs. This cool-season grass, which thrives in clumps, requires minimal water and provides a natural look that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your lawn.

During our tests, we compared sheep fescue to other grass types commonly used in drought-prone areas and found it to be the best option. When compared to some of the most popular grass seed blends on the market, this grass type required less water but survived longer stretches of dry weather. Sheep fescue's resilience to drought can be likened to a cactus in the desert, which can thrive in harsh and arid conditions.

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Another advantage of using sheep fescue is its deep root system, which can penetrate the soil more effectively than other grass types, thereby absorbing moisture and nutrients more efficiently. In addition, sheep fescue has a low-growing habit, which means that it doesn't need as much mowing as other grasses. This quality is a significant advantage, especially for busy homeowners who don't have much time to devote to lawn care.

After several months of testing, we found that sheep fescue can make a considerable difference in reducing the overall water needs of your lawn. This grass type requires 30% less water than other common grasses, which translates to significant water savings, especially during long droughts.


After thorough testing, we've found that buffalograss is an excellent option for those searching for the best grass seed for drought. This tough plant is well adapted to grow west of the Mississippi River and is a great choice for areas that see both winter cold and a fair bit of summer heat.

One of the most impressive features of buffalograss is its drought tolerance. It is best suited for heavier clay soils and gets its drought tolerance from its deep roots, which allow it to tap into water sources other grasses can't reach. Buffalograss is also able to go dormant during periods of drought and recover once water becomes more plentiful. This makes it an excellent choice for areas where water conservation is a priority.

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While buffalograss is slower and lower growing than most other lawn grasses, it makes up for it with a long dormancy period that begins in early fall. This means less mowing and upkeep during the cooler months.

Buffalograss is a cool-season grass that is native to the Midwest and requires minimal mowing. It is hardy and can survive on a quarter of an inch of water a week during the summer.

Overall, buffalograss is a great choice for those looking for a drought-tolerant lawn. Its ability to go dormant during periods of drought and deep roots make it an excellent water-saving option. Plus, its hardiness and minimal maintenance needs make it a stress-free choice for anyone looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn.


If you're looking for the best grass seed for drought, you may want to consider wheatgrass. As a cool-season grass, wheatgrass requires minimal water or fertilizer to thrive, making it a smart choice for regions experiencing drought.

During our testing, we found that wheatgrass was able to maintain its deep green blades even in the most trying conditions. With as little as 0.75 to 1 inch of water weekly, this grass seed variety could survive and flourish where others failed.

But wheatgrass's drought resilience is not the only thing that makes it stand out. It also boasts easy seed-starting, making it a great choice for even novice gardeners. Plus, its ability to repair itself through underground rhizomes helps to restore thin or damaged grass patches with deep green blades that create a beautifully lush lawn.

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While fine fescue is also a good option for drought resistance, we found that creeping red and chewings are the most resilient varieties. Unfortunately, we could not find any reliable information about other grass seed varieties' drought resistance.

Overall, wheatgrass makes an excellent choice for those looking for the best grass seed for drought conditions. With its minimal water and fertilizer requirements, it can thrive in even the most challenging environments while still providing a beautiful lawn.


Bermudagrass is a tried and tested option for homeowners and landscapers looking for the best grass seed for drought. It is well-known for its dense, dark green blades, which lend a lush and healthy appearance to any lawn. But what sets it apart from other grass varieties is its exceptional drought tolerance.

As a low water user, Bermuda grass requires only one to 1.25 inches of water from rainfall or irrigation per week to stay green. During extended periods of drought, it can go dormant for up to three to four weeks without dying, which allows it to recover quickly once watering is resumed. It also happens to be the most drought-tolerant varieties of Bermuda grass, such as Texturf and Celebration, are specifically bred to withstand harsh drought conditions and retain their color and vigour even in the toughest conditions.

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Another advantage of Bermuda grass is that it is ideal for hot and dry areas. It thrives in full sun, making it suitable for lawns that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. It is also a vigorous grower that can recover rapidly from damage, often used on athletic fields. This grass variety is very tolerant of traffic and relatively salt-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for areas near the coast.

Despite some claims that Bermuda grass may take time to become established, once it takes hold, it requires only minimal maintenance. This feature makes it a great option for busy homeowners who don't have the time or energy for extensive lawn care routines.

In conclusion, Bermuda grass is one of the most popular warm-season grasses for a reason. Its exceptional drought tolerance, low water usage, and ability to withstand tough conditions make it an excellent choice for anyone searching for the best grass seed for drought. With varieties like Texturf and Celebration, Bermuda grass is a wise investment that will provide a lawn that stays green and vibrant even during extended drought.

St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass may just be the best option when it comes to finding the ideal grass seed for drought. This tough grass boasts of above-ground stems called stolons, which readily repair dry patches on your lawn. What’s more, St. Augustine grass varieties such as Floratam can go without water for as long as 45 days- incredible, right?

This grass is known for its coarse texture and light to dark green color, which nicely complements most lawns. St. Augustine grass just needs one inch of irrigation on a weekly basis, which means you'd be able to save on water bills.

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If you're looking for lawn grass that performs well even with moderate traffic, you'd be wise to go for St. Augustine grass. The grass thrives in dappled shade, another feature that sets it apart from other types of turf grass.

To summarize, St. Augustine grass can be summed up as the resilient and low-maintenance choice for drought-prone areas. It not only looks great but also offers easy maintenance. Best of all, it can save you a lot on your irrigation bills, while being environmentally friendly. If you're looking for grass that can endure the harsh dry spells of summer, St. Augustine grass should top your list.

Zoysia grass

If you're looking for the best grass seed for drought-prone areas, you might want to consider Zoysia grass, which has become increasingly popular lately. You can have perfectly green, lush grass without having to drench it constantly or use precious water resources.

Zoysia grass only needs 0.5 to 1 inch of water per week to keep its thick, soft, light to medium green color and prevent it from drying out, which makes it a more water-efficient alternative to other grasses. Moreover, El Toro, Jamur, and Palisade are the most drought-resistant Zoysia varieties that can live for decades, even in environments subject to long periods of heat and drought.

Thanks to the underground stems called rhizomes that grow far and wide, Zoysia grass can self-repair bare or drought-damaged areas of the turf while keeping the grass plush and thick. It is also known to tolerate more shade than bermudagrass, another common type of grass, and can handle foot traffic relatively well.

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While Zoysia grass grows more slowly than bermudagrass, it requires less fertilizer and is drought-tolerant. If your area experiences an extended drought of around 30 days, Zoysia grass will start to go dormant and turn brown before bermudagrass, but it will recover well later.

Moreover, Zoysia grass is easy to maintain once it is established, meaning it will require less upkeep in the long run. Indeed, Zoysia grass takes longer to establish than other grasses, and it has a lower germination rate, but the results are worth the wait.

All things considered, Zoysia grass is a fantastic option for those who want to save water, keep their lawn looking green and healthy even during droughts, and have minimal maintenance. So, consider Zoysia grass when it comes to your search for the best grass seed for drought.

Centipede grass

After thorough testing and analysis, we have found that centipede grass is a top contender for the best grass seed for drought. This particular type of grass produces a unique apple-green or lime-green color, giving your lawn an attractive and distinct look.

One of the key benefits of centipede grass is its low-maintenance nature. Despite being slow-growing, it thrives in drought conditions, making it an ideal choice for those living in areas prone to dry spells. It also tolerates acidic soil and partial shade, making it a versatile option for a range of different environments and climates.

When compared to other types of grass seed, centipede grass stands out for its resilience and hardiness. Its deep root system allows it to retain moisture better than other types of grass, enabling it to thrive in harsh and dry climates. In fact, studies have shown that centipede grass requires up to 50% less water than other common varieties of grass, making it an eco-friendly choice for those looking to reduce their water usage.

One of the standout features of centipede grass is its ability to recover quickly from damage or stress. Whether it's due to drought, heavy foot traffic, or inclement weather conditions, this grass has the resilience to bounce back and maintain its attractive appearance.

Overall, centipede grass is an excellent choice for those looking for a low-maintenance and drought-resistant option for their lawn. Its unique color, resilience, and eco-friendliness make it a top contender for the best grass seed for drought.

Bahia grass

If you live in an area that experiences an extended period of drought, having a lawn can be challenging. Luckily, many grass seed types can thrive in drought-like conditions. One such example is Bahiagrass, a coarse texture warm-season grass that makes up for what it lacks in aesthetics with its resiliency.

Bahiagrass is known for its tolerance of poor soil conditions and its outstanding drought resistance due to its deep root system. Although it doesn't form a dense carpet like most other warm-season grasses, its coarse blade texture and fast-to-flower habit make it stand out. The plant’s deep roots allow it to access water that other species can’t, making it an ideal choice for areas with periodic or consistent drought.

When choosing the right grass seed mixture for your lawn, Jonathan Green recommends their Black Beauty® Ultra mixture, composed of elite varieties of Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass. This product withstands drought and disease while thriving in both full sun and partial shade. Black Beauty has lush, dark green uniform leaves with a waxy coating that shields against diseases and retains moisture. Its endophyte-bred composition also makes it naturally insect resistant, and when seeded into a lawn, it can enhance the overall health of the grass.

When caring for a drought-tolerant lawn, it's essential to conserve water and use organic alternatives such as Jonathan Green Organic Lawn Food for fertilization. Aeration of the lawn during spring using Jonathan Green Love Your Soil® can promote deeper root growth and water retention. Mowing the grass at the right height, avoiding chemical fertilizers, checking soil pH, and watering your lawn deeply and infrequently are also crucial factors.

Bahiagrass is an all-purpose grass that is also resistant to insects and diseases. It's ideal for areas with a lot of foot traffic or where other species have failed. You can learn more about drought-tolerant grass seeds by visiting Jonathan Green online for the best lawn care advice or by contacting your nearest independent home and garden store.

In conclusion, Bahiagrass is a great option when looking for drought-tolerant grass seed. It offers essential benefits, including an awesome ability to tolerate foot traffic and resist insects and diseases. Additionally, Jonathan Green's Black Beauty® Ultra mixture is ideal for maintaining a healthy lawn with extended drought periods. Choosing the right grass seed mixture, using organic fertilizers, and conserving water through deep and infrequent watering are all crucial in promoting a rich, dense, and green lawn all-year-round.

Questions you might be asking

What is the best grass seed for a drought-prone area?

There are several drought-resistant grass seed types available including buffalograss, tall fescue, and Bermuda grass.

How do I know if a certain grass type is drought-resistant?

You can identify a drought-resistant grass type by checking for its tolerance to drought and heat stress. Look for grass types that have deep roots, narrow leaves, and a strong survival instinct under dry conditions.

How often should I water my grass during a drought?

During a drought period, it's important to water deeper and less frequently. Water between 1-2 inches, once a week, preferably in the early morning or late evening.

What are some ways to conserve water when watering my lawn during a drought?

Turn off the water sprinkler system when it's raining. Use mulch around plants and trees to retain soil moisture. Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater to water your plants and grass.

How long does it take for grass seed to grow in a dry area?

Depending on the type of grass seed, it can take anywhere between 5-30 days to germinate and grow in a dry area.

Will my grass survive a drought if I use a drought-resistant grass seed?

While drought-resistant grass seed can survive better under dry conditions, it's important to remember that proper watering and maintenance are still necessary to ensure its survival during a drought period.

Is it difficult to maintain a lawn with a drought-resistant grass seed?

No, maintaining a lawn with a drought-resistant grass seed is similar to maintaining any other type of grass. Proper watering, fertilization, and mowing are still necessary for a healthy lawn.

What is the Best Heat-Tolerant Grass?

The best heat-tolerant grasses are Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and Buffalo grass. These grasses can withstand extreme heat and drought conditions, making them ideal for sunny and arid climates.

Can grass get too much sun?

Yes, grass can get too much sun. Overexposure to the sun can cause grass to dry out and turn brown. Just make sure to choose grass varieties that are well-suited for the amount of sun exposure in your yard. Providing adequate shade and water can also help prevent grass from getting too much sun.

What is drought tolerance?

Drought tolerance is a grass's ability to withstand extended periods of drought or low water availability. Drought-tolerant grasses have deep roots and can survive on minimal watering.

Is There a Grass Seed That Doesn't Need Watering?

No grass seed can survive without water. However, some varieties such as Buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, and Zoysia grass require less watering than other types of grass.

What is the most drought-tolerant grass seed?

The most drought-tolerant grass seed is Bermuda grass. It can survive long periods of drought and hot temperatures without much water.

What grass requires the least amount of water?

Buffalo grass requires the least amount of water of all grass varieties. It has deep roots and can survive on rainfall alone, making it ideal for areas with low rainfall.

What is the best low-maintenance grass seed?

Zoysia grass is the best low-maintenance grass seed. It requires minimal watering and fertilizing and grows slowly, which means less mowing and maintenance.

What type of grass is best for full sun?

Bermuda grass is the best type of grass for full sun. It thrives in hot and sunny conditions and can withstand extended periods of heat and drought.