What’s the best grass in Florida?
St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum)
St. Augustine grass is one of the firm favorites in all of Florida. It thrives in the heat. It’s drought-resistant. It can handle high salt levels.
While it is drought-resistant if you do water St. Augustine grass copiously you’ll enjoy a thick turf layer that is bluey-green in color.
This grass establishes rapidly. It can grow in almost any soil type. It produces runners above ground.
St. Augustine grass doesn’t like the cold. Nor does it like shade. Furthermore, it is susceptible to a virus referred to as SAD. SAD affects St. Augustine and centipede grasses alone. It causes chlorotic mottling of the leaves.
Planting Methods: Sod, sprigs, or plugs. Planting by seed is a rarity because the seed is not easy to come by.
Ideal Soil Type: Thrives in different soils, both acidic and alkaline. pH between 5 and 8.5.
Mowing Height: Mow to 3.5-4 inches.
Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum)
With its coarse leaves, Bahiagrass thrives in dry, hot climates and on sandy soils.
Not much in the way of irrigation or fertilizers is/are required. That means Bahiagrass is ideal for large spaces or for areas that benefit from little irrigation.
If there’s an extended drought period, Bahiagrass will go into dormancy. It will emerge from dormancy once conditions are more favorable.
In Florida, Pensacola Bahiagrass is most frequently used. Pensacola has a higher degree of resistance to cooler temperatures and stress than other Bahiagrass varieties.
Nevertheless, even Pensacola isn’t without its flaws. It’s susceptible to weed growth. It does not do at all well in shaded areas. It develops seed heads that are unattractive. It does not take well to overwatering.
Depending on the prevailing weather conditions, Pensacola Bahiagrass may well require weekly mowing.
Planting Method: Seed.
Ideal Soil Type: Low pH (acidic) and sandy soil.
Recommended Mowing Height: Between 3 and 4 inches.
Zoysia Grass (Zoysia matrella)
Dark green in color, Zoysia grass is very durable (copes with high traffic volume) and it thrives in sunny conditions. This makes it the ideal choice for coastal areas and for golf courses in general.
It has good resistance to disease and to drought. And while it prefers full sun it can deal with some shade.
Zoysia is a very low maintenance grass. It wants for little water and doesn’t need much fertilizer (if any). Yet, it will still thrive. It is, though, fairly susceptible to weed growth.
Zoysia enters dormancy if there is frost. Once soil temperatures rise above 70 degrees, the grass will emerge from dormancy.
Reproduction is by way of rhizomes and stolons.
Planting Method: Sod, plugs, or seed.
Ideal Soil Type: Can adapt to an array of different soil types.
Recommended Mowing Height: Between 1 and 2 inches.
Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
With its beautifully unique bluey-green color and its curling leaf blades, buffalo grass is very tolerant to high temperatures and it thrives in almost any kind of soil.
Buffalo grass, however, is not tolerant to shade. It’s not suited to high-traffic areas either.
Too much water will simply weaken buffalo grass which in turn makes it disease-prone. Weeds can be a problem in buffalo grass too.
Planting Method: Seed.
Ideal Soil Type: Can grow well in acidic and alkaline soils.
Recommended Mowing Height: Between1.5 and 3 inches.
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)
Bermuda grass has a gray-green coloring. It’s highly resistant to drought due to its very long roots. It’s also very durable and resistant to weeds. Thus it’s ideal for sports fields and golf courses.
Bermuda is a highly invasive grass so it’s not necessarily suited to lawns. One of its common names is ‘devil’s grass’ because it tends to seed prolifically.
Bermuda grass thrives in any soil. It produces rhizomes, runners, and seed. It is, though, cold temperature sensitive. It does not like shady conditions and it is somewhat prone to pest damage.
Planting Methods: Sprigs or seed.
Ideal Soil Type: Thrives in most soils.
Recommended Mowing Height: Between 0.5 and 2 inches.
Centipede Grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides)
If you are looking for a lawn that offers low maintenance then centipede grass is certainly a good choice. The grass is low-growing, and because of that, it requires less mowing than many other choices.
Centipede grass thrives in sunshine but it also does well in shade and in cooler temperatures.
Simply make the occasional fertilizer application and this yellow-green grass will continue to look at its best.
Centipede grass is an excellent lawn choice. However, it’s not one for salt and it does not deal well with lots of traffic. It’s also susceptible to ground pearls and nematodes.
Planting Method: Seed.
Ideal Soil Type: Acidic, sandy soils with pH of between 5 and 6.
Recommended Mowing Height: Between 1.5 and 2 inches.