If you are planning to re-sod your lawn, you may be unsure as to which are the best Florida grasses to use. For many in the Sarasota and Tampa area, your HOA may dictate the only acceptable variety of grass. But if you are in a non-deed restricted community or out in the country, your choice will depend on factors such as the soil type, pH, amount of sun your lawn receives, and how much you plan to walk on your grass.
These six species of grass or sod are the most popular here in South Florida for turf grass, and each has a unique look and set of requirements. You’re sure to find a type that meets your needs and makes your landscape look fresh and beautiful.
- St. Augustine grass: A beautiful Florida-favorite, St. Augustine is drought resistant and grows well in most soil types and pH. So long as it receives full-sun and is watered well, it will be happy and healthy. It grows quickly and thus needs to be mowed more often than other species. You should keep an eye out for signs of chinch bugs, as this turf is more susceptible than others to have them.
- Bermuda grass: This grey-green species is great for Florida landscaping because of its ability to grow in many soil types and its deep roots systems–it can survive droughts, extreme heat, and high amounts of foot traffic. Its root systems also allow it to out-compete most weeds. It is excellent for large open areas. On small lawns, however, it tends to spread where it is not welcome. Bermuda grass may invade your garden beds if they aren’t lined. Can’t be planted easily as sod–need to be seeds or sprigs.
- Bahia grass: If you have sandy soil, Bahia grass is a great candidate for your lawn. It requires a low pH in order to thrive and grows well in hot climates. Because it lives in well-draining sandy soil, it naturally goes into a dormant state to survive drought conditions; it’ll spring right back once it receives water again. This species is low maintenance, needing little fertilizer or extra waterings to survive. If you have a large yard with low pH, Bahia is the turf for you.
- Centipede grass: Those who dislike mowing will find Centipede grass particularly appealing. It is naturally a low-growing species, and thus rarely needs to be cut. It can even thrive in shade and cooler temperatures, unlike most other Florida grasses. Just provide some fertilizer and keep foot traffic low, and this grass will grow well.
- Buffalo grass: Like Bermuda grass, this species thrives in a wide range of soil types. Its tight sod structure means weeds are rarely an issue, and its blue-green blades will give your lawn a beautiful, lush appearance. If you plan to use your lawn frequently for recreation though, you may want to avoid this species–it is sensitive to foot traffic, and when trampled or overwatered becomes vulnerable to disease.
- Zoysia grass: This species is an excellent general turf. It survives in multiple soil types and is quite tolerant of extreme conditions. Heat, drought, and even partial shade are easily withstood. Foot traffic doesn’t damage this lush turf grass, and its tight formation deters weed growth. Don’t be worried if it browns in winter, because it goes dormant if soil temperatures dip below 70 degrees. While it does require frequent mowing–it should be kept short, around 1-2 inches tall–Zoysia provides a thick, green, resilient covering for your landscape.