Types of Grass in Atlanta

The two primary types of grass are warm season and cool season grasses. Warm season grasses grow vigorously in the warmest months of the year and become dormant in the wintertime. Warm season grasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Centipede. Cool season grasses grow best in the cooler months, and many become dormant in the hot summer months. Popular cool season grasses include Fescue and Rye.

The climate in the Atlanta area regularly ranges from the low 30s in the winter to the mid to high 90s in the summer. Because of this wide range, warm and cold season grasses are both used. However, warm season grasses are most common and generally require less watering in the summer months. Cool season grasses are often used for overseeding a warm season lawn, which helps maintain an attractive lawn even during the winter months.

Bermuda. Bermuda is a finely textured warm grass that holds up well to heavy foot traffic. Because it is tolerant of drought as well as cold temperatures, Bermuda is extremely popular in the South. It does not thrive in the shade; therefore, it is best for lawns that are in direct sunlight most of the day.

Zoysia. A fine- to medium-textured grass, Zoysia is tolerant of cold temperatures. It grows best in direct sun, yet it can also survive in partial shade. Although drought resistant, it generally requires more watering than most warm season grasses.

Centipede. Despite being a warm season grass, Centipede has a fair tolerance to the cold and also grows well in partial shade. A medium-textured and slow-growing grass, Centipede requires infrequent mowing. Because it grows slowly, it can take longer to fully thicken and cover a yard than other grasses. Centipede has a low tolerance to foot traffic and will show wear in areas that are heavily used.

St. Augustine. St. Augustine is a coarsely textured grass. It is less resilient than Bermuda, so it is not ideal for lawns that are heavily used. However, it will flourish in yards that only receive partial sunlight, so it is adequate for lawns that have areas with shade. Since Atlanta’s temperature can vary from week to week, St. Augustine is not usually planted as far north as Atlanta.

Fescue. Fescue is a cool season grass, but it requires more water in the summer than most warm season grasses. Frequent mowing is necessary in the fall and spring, and Fescue can live in the sun and the shade.