Types Of Florida Landscape Grass And Lawns
There are different variations of types of Florida landscape grass and lawns. What type that can be installed depends upon the types of Florida grass that are best suited for the location. A grass type can grow good in some area’s but not good in others. Here listed are the most common types of grass found in Florida.
Most Common Types Of Florida Grass
St. Augustine Grass
The most commonly planted turfgrass in Florida for home lawns and commercial properties. It is also used in Texas and other areas of the southern United States. Known to be native to the Mediterranean coast and Gulf of Mexico.
It has adapted to warm humid conditions and sub tropical area’s of the world. St Augustine grass types can grow in many types of soils offering a dense thick green lush look. It is established by planting sod. Establishment from St. Augustine sod is quick and easy. If renovation is needed St. Augustine plugs can replace bare areas as runners from their root system will fill in a location. St. Augustine types of Florida grass are susceptible to the insect chinch bugs but can be eliminated with pesticides. St. Augustine lawns can bounce back with proper chinch bug control and treatment. St. Augustine grass should be mowed at height of 2.5-3 inches. Mowing should be done every 7 days during spring and summer, every 14 days during winter.
St. Augustine grass does require proper, mowing, watering and fertilization . With proper St. Augustine grass maintenance you will have a successful vigorous green looking lawn.
St. Augustine Types Of Grass
Floratam St. Augustine types of Florida grass is easy to establish from sod or plugs. A widely used residential and commercial types of lawn grass. Most commonly used for home lawns of all types of St. Augustine grass. It has vigorous growth in warm weather during spring and summer. Growth does slow down during late fall and winter months. It has a period of dormancy during winter in north Florida. Frost and cold wind in winter can turn the blades purple to brown, but will return to green when new growth appears. It does require full sun to perform at it’s best, for it does not do well in shade.
Densely spreading variety that has an aggressive growth habit. It has short leaf blades with a rich green color. Palmetto does well in full sun or partial shade. It has a good tolerance for cold weather. It can sometimes have problems with disease, especially during the humid, damp summer months.
Del-Mar is dark green in color, grows well in full sun, and has the best shade tolerance of all varieties of St. Augustine grass. It has good cold tolerance and maintains excellent winter color. Del-Mar is susceptible to chinch bugs, sod webworms, and brown patch disease. It has slow lateral runner growth, so grow-in from plugging or recovery from any damage may take longer.
Seville St. Augustine variety is a semi-dwarf, fine leaved lawn grass. It has a low dense compact growth habit, which makes it prone to thatch and shallow rooting. Seville has a dark emerald green color. It can be established quickly from sod, and plugs are fast spreading. It is also susceptible to chinch bug and webworm damage. Seville grows well in full sun and has fair shade tolerance. It can be somewhat sensitive to cold weather.
Bahia Grass, from Brazil, began being used in United States in 1914 as a pasture grass and mostly used in the southern states where sandy soils exist. Through the years new types of lawn grass are being used for residential and commercial lawns. It is established by planting sod or from seed.
Bahia is a drought tolerant…Good for infertile sandy soil… grass type. Does not form much thatch and does not need excessive fertilization. However, Bahia Grass can turn yellow from lack of the nutrient Iron.
Weed control can only be done when, adequate soil moisture is present, air temperature is between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lawn is not experiencing any stress. Only certain types of chemicals for weed control can be applied to Bahia Grass, it’s important to always read the label on any herbicide or “weed-feed” before applying it. Do Not use any weed chemical not listed for usage on Bahia. Applying the wrong type of herbicide and applied incorrectly, will result in severe damage to a Bahia lawn or eventually killing it.
Bahia grass is not tolerant of salt water. It also does not tolerate any excessive amounts of foot traffic. Bahia Grass does not do well in shade, it requires full sun. Bahia Grass should be mowed at a height of 3-4 inches during active growth.
Bahia Grass can be difficult to mow when wet compared to other types of grass. It requires weekly mowing during summer months.
Bahia Types Of Grass
Common type of Bahia grass is light in color, course in texture, with an open and sparse growth habit. It is very susceptible to cold temperatures. Normally it is not recommended for usage as a home lawn. Generally used for roadside planting by the state or counties.
Argentine type of Bahia Grass is dense, thick, dark green in color, and is good for lawn use in many situations. It is cold tolerant and has the highest, insect and disease resistance of all types of Bahia grass. Argentine is the best choice for a home lawn of all the types of Bahia Grass.
Pensacola Bahia Grass tolerates both hot or cold temperatures. It has excellent drought tolerance due to it’s extensive root system. It has longer and narrower leaf blades than Argentine. Because of it’s abundance of seed heads it is more suitable for roadside plantings, less desirable for home lawn usage.
Paraguay also known as “Texas Bahia Grass”, has short, tough, hairy leaves that have a grayish tint. It is not cold tolerant and can have problems with dollar spot disease. It does not perform as well as Argentine or Pensacola.
Several varieties of Zoysia grass are used for residential and commercial landscapes. Empress variety can be used for home lawns, plus athletic fields and golf courses. Zoysia grass can grow in different types of soils, handles full sun, and has good shade tolerance. Establishment is done by planting sod. Once established it is a dense turf, that can resist most weeds, and requires less mowing than other types of turf due to it’s slower growth rate. It can be mowed by using a rotary mower. Zoysia grass mowed with a rotary mower should be done at a height of 2-3 inches.
New lawns with Zoysia grass may take longer to establish than other types of Florida grass, sometimes up to two growing seasons. Zoysia grass usually requires higher and more frequent fertilization than other types of turf, especially when the soil is low in potassium. It has a low drought tolerance due to it’s shallow root system, and will recover slow from drought damage. Zoysia grass can be prone to Nematodes and several types of diseases.
When properly maintained, Zoysia grass makes an excellent turf for home lawns. It is recommend to have a professional lawn care company maintain it for best results.
Zoysia Types Of Lawn Grass
Meyer has long been the standard Zoysia grass that is used for home lawns and commercial properties. It has a deep green color, medium leaf texture, and spreads quicker than other varieties of Zoysia. It has less shade tolerance than some of the other varieties. It is a good cold- tolerant Zoysia grass. Meyer makes an excellent turf after being established.
EL Toro Zoysia grass resembles Meyer but has a faster rate of establishment, improved cool-season color, tolerates cold better, and has less thatch buildup. It has increased shade tolerance and a better resistance to rust disease than Meyer. EL Toro also greens-up quicker during early spring. Used for residential and commercial properties.
Empire Zoysia grass is dark green in color with a wide leaf blade, and has an open growth habit. It establishes good, has aggressive growth once established, and performs well in sandy or clay soil types. Because of it’s broader leaf and open growth habit, it can be mowed by using a standard rotary mower offering a good cut and appearance. Empire Zoysia is great for home lawns. Very popular for residential properties.
Empress Zoysia grass unlike Empire, is used for it’s fine-bladed texture and tight growth habit. It also has a nice green color. Empress is best suited where a fine, small-leaved, soft-textured turf is desired. It is capable of handling heavy foot traffic. It is widely used for home lawns, golf courses, and for usage on athletic fields.
The most common types of Florida grass used for homes in the Panhandle of Florida. It is well adapted to the climate and soil conditions of northern Florida, where it is generally used. However, it is also found to be used in some of the most northern central regions of the state. Nematode damage has limited the usage of it in south Florida’s sandy soil. Because of it’s small region of usage, not many types have been developed. Contact the local county extension service in your area for varieties of cultivars available.
Established Centipede grass is a low maintenance turfgrass, and has less fertility requirements. Centipede grass is naturally lighter in color than other lawn grasses, and yellowing can occur during early spring, when daytime temperatures are warm and night time temperatures are still cool. As the soil becomes warmer temporary yellowing will end.
Do Not over-fertilize it with nitrogen to turn it darker green. This causes it to be less cold tolerant and have excessive maintenance problems. Problems from over-fertilization such as diseases can occur during springtime, causing dead patches if left untreated. Treatment with a liquid fungicide on diseased areas will be needed to stop dead patches from happening.
Centipede grass can be established by seed, sod, or plugs. Sodding establishes a lawn more quickly and makes it less susceptible to various stresses. For seeding use a good quality Centipede grass seed, with a purity of 90% or better and a minimum of 85% germination. The best time to sod or seed is from April to July to allow a full growing season for establishment, and to avoid cold damage during the winter.
Centipede grass that is actively growing needs to be mowed every 7-14 days at a height of 1.5 to 2.5 inches to keep it attractive and healthy. It is a slow growing turfgrass that grows close to the ground and is medium in texture. Centipede grass has fair shade tolerance and requires full sun to stay healthy and vigorous.
Bermudagrass has been well adapted to the climates and soils found in Florida and southern states. It produces a vigorous, medium green, dense turf. It can be established quickly and is available as sod or plugs. It has excellent wear, can handle drought conditions, and has good salt tolerance. It does well in full sun or partial shade.
There are two types of Bermudagrass: “Improved Bermudagrass” and “Common Bermudagrass”.
Improved Bermudagrass is a fine-textured, soft, durable, dense turf. It is used in the south on golf courses, athletic fields, and in some residential and commercial properties. It is often found in landscapes as a home lawngrass for high- profile homes.
Improved Bermudagrass is a high maintenance turf, due to the requirements and amount of care needed for it be at it’s best. When used as a home lawngrass, it is recommended having a professional lawn care company to maintain it properly. When maintained correctly it is a beautiful turfgrass, homeowners use it for that “golf course look”.
Common Bermudagrass varieties are course-leaved, and not as a high quality turf as Improved Bermudagrass. It is lighter green in color and not as soft as the fine-textured Improved type of Bermuda.
Common Bermudagrass does not require the same attention, high amount of care and maintenance as Improved. Common does not need the same amount of fertilization and watering as Improved. It is good for when a less costly type of Bermuda is desired, while less quality and appearance is acceptable. Common Bermudagrass is often found in pastures and along roadsides.
Seashore Paspalum types of Florida grass is becoming more popular in coastal regions. It is planted as a home lawn and for usage on golf courses. It can be watered by using poor quality water and is extremely salt tolerant, which makes it an excellent type of grass for growing along seawalls.
Seashore Paspalum grows best in the summer months in warmer climates. It needs to be established by planting sod. It can maintain a consistent dark green color, with less fertilizer treatments than other types of turf. It can receive heavy amounts of rainfall, which makes it great for tropical areas such as south Florida and the Keys.
Seashore Paspalum does need to have thatching done every year for it to grow at it’s best. It needs to be mowed at a level of 2 inches on a weekly basis. Weed control needs to be done by only using chemicals that are labeled for it.
These are most common types of Florida grass. They can be found in other areas of southern states. Each has it’s own characteristics and adaptability. These lawn tips will help in making the choice for what types of lawn grass is best for you.
Author, Kurt Kmetz