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What Are the Best Grass Types for South Florida Lawns?July 8th, 2019 by
Grass is an important part of your landscaping—even more so if your household includes kids or pets. But as utilitarian as grass may seem, keeping it healthy is sometimes easier said than done. If you’re struggling to maintain a well-kept lawn in South Florida, you need to look for grass types that thrive in the heat, humidity, and sun of the south. When you combine the right type of grass with professional lawn care, your yard can look its best all season long.
Read on to find out which types of grass best suit the climate of South Florida.
Best South Florida Grass Types
Turf grasses are classified as one of three types:
- Warm season
- Cold season
As you might expect, cold-season grasses are best suited to areas of the country that experience very cold winters. Warm-season grasses can weather heat, sun exposure, and drought without dying off—in fact, some warm-season grasses thrive in the heat. Transition grasses are happiest in parts of the country with a relatively temperate climate.
With its tropical climate, South Florida is anything but temperate, so opt for one (or a combination) of the following six warm-season grasses to create a gorgeous green lawn.
St. Augustine grass
St. Augustine grass creates a dense turf with a green to blue-green color. This grass variety is quite popular in South Florida.
- St. Augustine grows quickly and needs to be cut to a height of approximately two to four inches.
- St. Augustine thrives in the shade, but it doesn’t tolerate heavy foot traffic.
- This grass variety typically goes dormant in the winter and turns brown or tan until spring.
Bermuda grass grows into an even, dark-green ground covering that is popular on golf courses and athletic fields.
- Bermuda grass can be mowed to a relatively short length—for the healthiest turf, mow a Bermuda grass lawn to a height of one to one-and-a-half inches.
- Bermuda grass adapts well to different soils and climates and withstands drought, heat, direct sun, and heavy foot traffic.
- This grass variety is highly invasive; it will creep into nearby gardens and flowerbeds if not properly maintained.
Zoysia is a medium- to dark-green grass that handles both the sun and shade well. A Zoysia lawn will grow relatively slowly, so if mowing isn’t your favorite weekend activity, this grass variety may suit your lifestyle.
- To keep the grass healthy, mow a zoysia lawn to a height of about an inch and a half.
- Zoysia grass is low maintenance—it doesn’t need much water or fertilizer, and it tolerates consistent foot traffic well.
- Zoysia grass—when it’s properly cared for—is known for being resistant to disease and weed growth.
Buffalo grass has a blue-green hue and thrives in high temperatures. Since truly cold weather is a rarity in South Florida, a Buffalo grass lawn will likely stay green year-round without any intervention on your part.
- Mow your Buffalo grass lawn regularly, and keep its height between one-and-a-half and three inches.
- Buffalo grass is a great choice even if your yard is sunny and doesn’t have the best soil, but opt for another type of grass for shady areas.
- Buffalo grass does best with low to medium levels of foot traffic; be sure to avoid overwatering your Buffalo grass lawn to keep the grass at its healthiest.
Centipede grass is a popular, easy-care turf option for South Florida lawns with its light-green color and preference for sandy, acidic soil.
- A Centipede grass lawn should be mowed as needed to keep the grass to a height of one-and-a-half to two inches.
- Centipede grass grows relatively slowly compared to other grass varieties and typically does not require fertilizer.
- A lot of foot traffic can damage Centipede grass, and it may go dormant during extended periods of drought.
Bahiagrass is a resilient grass variety that prefers South Florida’s sandy soil and puts down deep roots to survive drought. If you want a green lawn without needing to install an irrigation system, ask your lawn care pro about Bahiagrass.
- Bahiagrass grows slowly, so it typically doesn’t need to be mowed as often as other varieties. Mow your Bahiagrass lawn as needed to keep its height between two and four inches.
- This grass variety has a coarse texture; the stems can be tough on mower blades, but it holds up well to foot traffic.
- Bahiagrass is low maintenance and doesn’t require supplemental irrigation or fertilizer.
Choosing the Best Grass Types for Your Yard
If you’re planting a new lawn, you’ll need to consider the factors that will make your yard look its best. Know your yard’s soil type, pH levels, and irrigation conditions. Low-maintenance grass types might be your preference, but if your yard is mostly shaded, you may have to choose grass types that fit the confines of your landscape.
Many of the common grass types that work well in South Florida have other varieties or species that have been adapted for different conditions. For example, Manilagrass is a species of Zoysia that resembles Bermuda grass. It grows slower than Zoysia and doesn’t do well under colder conditions. However, in South Florida, Manilagrass can be a great option.
Think carefully about how you use your lawn. If your children are often outside kicking a ball around, you’ll want a sturdier grass that stands up to traffic.
Also consider your hardscape needs. If a particular part of your yard is constantly trampled, opt for a concrete or paver pathway there instead of grass. Talk to a professional landscaper about the best, most cost-effective ways to help your yard fit better with your lifestyle.
Caring for Your South Florida Lawn
The heat and humidity of South Florida can make landscaping challenging, but with the right resources and an open mind, you can create a lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.
1. Choose plants that thrive in South Florida.
Softscape elements, such as flowers and bushes, add the color and visual interest that make your lawn stand out to passersby.
Save money and water by opting for native plants. Native plants aren’t always a cure-all for every gardening woe, but they can certainly make yard care less labor intensive. Your landscaping pro will be able to make recommendations based on your property, your aesthetic preferences, and how much time you can realistically devote to yardwork.
2. Mow your lawn the right way.
Regardless of the type of grass you have, you need to mow your lawn regularly to keep it healthy. Mowing too frequently or to a too-short length can weaken the grass, while mowing less often may promote overgrowth.
It may seem silly, but it’s important to know how to mow your lawn to keep your yard looking its best. It will also help prevent pest infestations and disease.
3. Install irrigation and drainage.
Installing an automatic irrigation system may seem like overkill. But the reality is that a sprinkler system will keep your yard healthy and beautiful all year with only minimal effort.
Don’t forget to include a drainage system to keep water from pooling and creating a swampy breeding ground for mosquitoes. An irrigation system pro will consider your yard’s slope to design the perfect irrigation and drainage plan.
Benefits of Professional Lawn Care
Choosing the right grass and maintaining a yard, even a small one, can be daunting for many people. Talk to a professional landscaper if you enjoy taking care of your lawn but don’t always have the time for it. Fortunately, a professional lawn care company has the tools, experience, and time to keep your grass in good shape and your property looking its best.
Are you ready for the lawn of your dreams? Find a lawn care company in South Florida today!