We are on an acre in Aledo & are getting ready to have a lawn installed. We have a large cluster of live oaks in our front yard, but the rest is pretty much full sun. Almost everyone in our neighborhood has a Bermuda lawn. We are considering putting St. Augustine down. Is this wise? Can it survive full sun in 60% of the yard?
St. Augustine grows well in shade only if it gets 5 to 6 hours of direct sun daily. It is more prone to disease and insects and severe winters (like we are having now) can kill it. It needs more water than other grasses so with our water restrictions that start in May and go to Oct. this may mean that your grass is dormant for most the summer and winter, or could die due to lack of water. Even if you have a well, you are pumping from a shared aquifer.
I would like to suggest a bed under and around the group of trees. Live Oaks however don't like to have their roots disturbed much so just a few native plants, or some ground cover would be good. Live Oaks also don't like a lot of water so be careful to plant drought tolerant plants under them. Some use just mulch and a few accent rocks or yard art in the area under the trees.
Bermuda is durable, inexpensive to plant from seed, tolerates heat, cold, and drought once established. It can be invasive in flowerbeds and doesn't grow well in shade. You can sink metal edging to deter grass from invading beds but runners can run deep. Use of a grass killer and weed pre-emergant also helps.
There are other grasses such as Zoysia and Buffalograss. Both are more expensive and do take much less water to maintain. Look in the FAQ for a brochure on Monthly Turf Management Tips and Buffalograss Management.