When it comes to lawn turf, everyone wants green lawns, easy maintenance, and less watering. Varieties of turfgrass have unique visual appeal, thickness, maintenance, and growth habits. The most common forms of lawn grass include: Centipede, Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. Below are characteristics you should consider before choosing the best turfgrass for your landscape.
Bermuda: Bermuda grass is a great all around grass for landscapes with high traffic. It is normally used for soccer and other sports fields. The grass prefers full sun and has a high tolerance for heat and drought conditions, although consistent watering will retain a bright green hue. There are a few pests and diseases you should be aware of including mole crickets, sod web worms, army worms, and dollar spot.
Centipede: This grass has a higher shade tolerance than Bermuda but lower tolerance compared to St. Augustine and Zoysia. Salt tolerance is fairly low and centipede grass prefers moderately acidic soils. Centipede grows rather slowly in comparison to other grasses, but will overtake a space if not kept in check. Centipede also requires little fertilizer, less mowing, and prefers full sun to moderate shade. This turfgrass does not grow well in high traffic areas, phosphorous or compact soils. TifBlair is one cold-tolerant variety that may be used in cooler climates such as North Carolina and further west.
St. Augustine: This is a warm climate grass that grows best in humid and coastal areas. St. Augustine can tolerate moderately shaded areas with moist-fertile soil. Sod or plugs are the most readily available source for installing this grass. St. Augustine grass grows moderately fast and requires consistent watering for optimal establishment. Bitter-blue and Raleigh varieties have been established to withstand cooler temperatures or clay soils. Grass should be cut at 3.5"-4" height.
Zoysia: A transitional grass that will last throughout yearly warm and cool seasons. Different varieties have a greater cold tolerance than others, Zoysia japonica is one of these. Drought conditions will not affect this grass as much as other types. It also has similar water requirements as Bermuda grass. Deeper roots allow zoysia to collect water from further soil depths. Make sure your yard is graded properly and soils are well-drained before applying pallets of zoysia. Varieties include: Emerald, Belaire, El Toro, and Cashmere zoysia. This grass should not be used in cooler climates as it will spread throughout other gardens and turn brown during the winter.