New Mexico state outlinePicture of a patch of sod in New Mexico

New Mexico Sod Guide

In this article we'll explore the optimal sod varieties for New Mexico. We'll also delve into their associated costs and the ideal times for laying to ensure growth.

warm season

In short, New Mexico may be a tough place for grass, but with the right choices, you can still have a lawn that's a feast for the eyes.


New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. It's a place of sizzling summers, mild winters, and a climate that would make a cactus feel at home.

The dry and arid conditions here play a big role in choosing the right grass for your New Mexican lawn. Most grasses love a good drink, and that can be a tall order in a place as parched as New Mexico.

But never fear, there are some grass varieties that have adapted to life in the dry lane. These drought-tolerant types can take the heat and still look neat.

If you're planning to lay some turf in New Mexico, set your sights on the warmer months. Late spring and early summer are prime time, with the soil warmed up and the sun working overtime.

Which grasses grow best in New Mexico?

In the world of landscaping, not all grasses are created equal. Each thrives in a specific climate zone: cool, warm, or transition.

A geographical map highlighting New Mexico located in the warm season region of the United States
New Mexico is a warm season state and falls in the region higlighted above

New Mexico, with its warm season climate, prefers a particular set of grasses that relish the higher temperatures. The following grasses are the easiest to grow and maintain in New Mexico:

BermudaWarm-season grass, drought-tolerant, dense turf, ideal for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. The price per square foot for Bermuda generally ranges from $0.35 to $0.65 per square foot.
BuffaloLow-maintenance, warm-season grass, drought-tolerant, thin bladed, suited for low-traffic areas. The price per square foot for Buffalo generally ranges from $0.55 to $0.80 per square foot.
ZoysiaWarm-season grass, slow-growing, dense turf, good for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. The price per square foot for Zoysia generally ranges from $0.55 to $0.90 per square foot.

While it's possible to grow grasses meant for other regions with proper care, attention and timing, these are the most common grasses in New Mexico for residential lawns.

What is the best time to lay sod in New Mexico?

In a warm-season location, lay sod in late spring or early summer. This timing is ideal as the warmer temperatures and longer days will promote quick root establishment and growth. Avoid laying sod in the cooler months as the grass will likely enter dormancy, slowing down the root establishment process. So, for success, stick to late spring or early summer when it's 75 to 90 degrees out.

As you can see in the image below, you'll notice the most shoot growth (the grass above ground) and root growth during the summer for warm season grasses:

A graph showing the growth of warm season grasses throughout the year
Plant warm-season grasses in the late Spring, early Summer for best results

Best Grasses for Shade in New Mexico

Here in the Land of Enchantment, we know a thing or two about the sun. Sometimes we wish for a bit more shade but hey, this is New Mexico. Grasses that thrive under shady conditions? That's a bit of a challenge. But don't worry, we've got the inside scoop. So let's cut straight to the chase.

Firstly, we recommend the Kentucky bluegrass. This green wonder is adaptable to a range of conditions, including shade. For optimal growth, it needs about 4 hours of direct sun, or 6-8 hours of dappled shade each day. But remember, it's a cool season grass, meaning it will take a slight hit when our summers crank the heat up.

Then there’s Fine Fescue. A real trooper, this cool season grass stays green while others take a siesta in the summer's heat. Deeply rooted, it's drought tolerant and requires less frequent watering. This makes it a big hit among the water-savvy landscapers in our arid state. Shade? Sure, it can take it. It needs just 4 hours of direct sunlight or 8 hours of filtered light a day. A cool shady spot in your lawn? This grass has it covered.

Let's not forget St. Augustine. This warm season grass is a beast under heavy shade. Not to mention, it can handle foot traffic and holds up well in heat, a New Mexico godsend. It thrives with 4-6 hours of sunlight each day. So if you've got a big tree casting a gladiator-sized shadow on your lawnscape, St. Augustine may just be your new best friend.

No fluff, no nonsense. Look, in New Mexico, we've got the sunlight part of photosynthesis down pat. Sometimes it's more about finding the green that can handle the shade. Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, or St. Augustine - choose your shade warrior and watch it thrive.

A picture of a shade tree over a lawn in New Mexico
Shade tree over a lawn in New Mexico

What grasses stay green year-round in New Mexico?

As with anything agriculture related, there is some nuance to this question. There are many grasses that can stay green year round in but it depends heavily on your location within the state as well as any microclimates that may exist.

The following grasses have the ability to stay green year round in New Mexico:

Grass TypeCaveats
BermudaIt typically goes dormant and turns brown after a few hard frosts in the fall and stays that way until temperatures consistently hit the 60s in the spring.
ZoysiaIt can stay green nearly year-round in milder climates without severe winter freezes or overly high summer temperatures.

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