Sod grass for Texas lawns must stand up to the high heat of summer and prolonged dry spells as well as winter temperatures that occasionally dip below freezing. The sod must be resistant to pests that thrive in the often humid climate. The best sods for Texas may go dormant during periods of drought or in the winter but turn green quickly with water and warmer temperatures.
St. Augustine grass has long been popular for Texas lawns. The grass grows by means of runners and spreads easily. Floratam, Seville and Raleigh are three varieties that do well in Texas. Floratam and Raleigh are not very cold tolerant, so they should be grown in the southern parts of the state and along the coast, while Seville will do well in northern parts of the state. St. Augustine grows best in full sun, though it will tolerate partial shade. It tolerates cold and drought fairly well, growing dormant and turning brown after several frosts, but reviving in the spring. It needs about three-quarters inch of precipitation a week to continue growing. Some varieties are susceptible to cinch bugs.
Zoysia produces a fine-bladed, soft carpet of grass and like St. Augustine requires only three-quarters inch of precipitation a week to stay healthy. Zoysia varieties Emerald, El Toro, Meyer and Jamur do well in Texas. Zoysia goes dormant during dry periods and turns brown after the first frosts of winter, becoming green again in spring. Zoysia is also a good choice for shady lawns.
Buffalo grass is a native species that thrives in full sun. It needs about an inch of water a week to stay green, but will go dormant during dry periods and in the winter, greening up again when it receives water. It doesn't tolerate shade well and is a poor choice for high-traffic areas. Buffalo grass will grow in heavy clay soils where other turf species won't thrive. Stampede, Prairie and 609 are good varieties for Texas.
Bermuda grass is another traditional choice for Texas lawns. Bermuda does best in full sun and will stay green all summer with as little as a half inch of water a week. Both common and hybrid Bermuda are resistant to pests and stand up to traffic well.