Tag Archives: warm season grass

Varieties Of Lawn Grass

There are many different varieties of lawn grass available but knowing the right one to choose for your area is vital.
varieties of lawn grass for a manicured lawn
Lawns are grown in every U.S. state, but the grasses in the lawns aren’t the same all over the country. Like most plants, grasses grow in some climates and conditions but not in others. It’s very important to choose the right grass for your location if you want an attractive and healthy lawn.

You can plant a new lawn from seed, sod, plugs, or sprigs. If you are planting a large area, seeding is the least expensive choice. The downside of seeding is that it takes a longer time for the grass to become established.

St. Augustine grass, hybrid bermudagrass, and some varieties of zoysiagrass are only available as sod, plugs, or sprigs. Plugs are small squares of sod, while sprigs are pieces of mature lawn grass. They are all more expensive than seeding, but take much less time to establish.

Following are brief descriptions of the major turf grasses, including where they grow in the U.S. Keep in mind that mixes of various kinds of grass seed increase your lawn options.

Types of Lawn Grasses

Bahiagrass is a low maintenance, drought- and shade-tolerant, low quality turf grass grown widely in the southeast.

Bermudagrass is the most popular lawn grass in the warm southern states.

Blue gamma grass is a native grass well suited for growing in the northern plains where summers are very hot and winters are very cold.

Buffalo grass is a native grass that grows well in high drought areas of the west.

Centipedegrass is a warm season grass that thrives in poor, acidic soils.

Creeping bent grass is a soft, tightly knit turf grass well suited to golf greens in northern states.

Fescue, fine – or needle-leaved. Mixed with perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass this turf grass increases shade and drought tolerance.

Fescue, tall – or broad-leaved. Traditionally coarse-bladed pasture grasses, tall fescue has new varieties that look and feel like Kentucky bluegrass but are more tolerant of low soil fertility and compacted soil.

Kentucky bluegrass is the most important turf grass in the northern half of the United States. It is also grown in southern coastal areas of California.

Ryegrass, annual, is a low-cost choice for overseeding warm season lawns.

Ryegrass, perennial, is often combined with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues. Like annual ryegrass, it can also be used for overseeding warm season lawns.

St. Augustine grass is one of the most important lawn grasses of the south and west. It grows fast and has a coarse texture.

Zoysiagrass makes a high quality lawn in subtropical areas of the country.

Choosing the Right Grass

Cooperative Extension agents can tell you which grasses or mixtures of grasses are best for your situation. Every state has a Cooperative Extension service, usually within the state university. You can find the office closest to you from the USDA website. Extension agents can also give you information on how to grow a lawn and help you with insect and disease problems.

Bermuda Grass – A Southern Favorite


Bermuda grass is a Southern favorite, and one of the most sun loving turf, lawn and pasture grasses available. It’s easy to grow from seed, and provides good coverage as a lawn grass in most of the southern half of the US. It’s an easy-care grass that’s resistant to most pests and needs only a moderate amount of care.

Origins

Originally from Africa, Bermuda grass came to the Americas by way of Spanish explorers in the 1500s. First used as just a forage and pasture grass, Bermuda grass has become so popular that it’s now used on golf greens worldwide. It forms a solid, perennial sod, is pest- and drought-resistant, loves full sun, tolerates some salt, and will stand up to close mowing. Although it goes dormant and turns brown as soon as nighttime temperatures drop below 60 degrees, it’s the first grass to turn green when temperatures start to rise.

Growth Habits


Even though it’s easy to grow from seed, that’s not the only way to establish a Bermuda grass lawn. Long before seed was commercially available, Bermuda grass lawns were established from sod or sprigs, and it’s still planted that way sometimes today. It spreads quickly by stolons and rhizomes, so it’s easy to get started no matter how you do it.

Bermuda grass is grown extensively in the South, an area to which it’s well adapted. It’s a perennial grass, so once you have it established it will come back year after year. For this reason many parks and other public facilities use it for putting greens, golf courses, sports fields, and other areas that need good grass coverage and receive full sun.

Although Bermuda grass began its tenure in the US as a southern grass, cold tolerant varieties mean that it now can be planted throughout most of the southern half of the United States. Some of the newer cold tolerant varieties include Yukon Bermuda Grass, Mohawk, and Rivera.

Sowing Bermuda Grass

If you’re going to plant Bermuda grass seed, sow it as a spring crop after the soil temperature has climbed above 65 degrees and you’re sure you won’t have any more frost or freezing temperatures. Generally speaking, this means that daytime temperatures are consistently 80 degrees or above.

One important ingredient in establishing Bermuda grass from seed is sufficient moisture. Cover it with 1/8 to ¼ inch of mulch or soil; if Bermuda grass seed is right on the surface of the soil where it’s exposed to hot sun and dry air, you can’t keep is moist enough to germinate well and develop a good stand no matter what you do. Yes, you can water it, but even so you won’t be able to keep it moist enough for it to germinate evenly or become established well during its first season. That said, however, don’t cover it with more than ¼ inch of soil or it won’t germinate.

You can buy Bermuda Grass from Amazon.

When To Mow

If you’re growing Bermuda grass from seed and it germinates well for you, you may be able to mow it as soon as three weeks after it germinates. The first couple of times you mow it, don’t cut it close, but only take about 1/3 of the height of the blades. A good general rule of thumb is to set the mower height at about 1 inch until your lawn is well established or until the second season.

As fast as Bermuda grass grows, however, if you plant it early in the spring you probably will be mowing it regularly by late summer. It’s just simply one of the best lawn grasses around.

Choosing the Right Warm Season Grass

If you live where summer temperatures regularly reach 80-95 degrees and want to have a lawn, you need to choose a warm season grass. Warm season grasses share several characteristics in addition to thriving in warm or hot climates. Because they grow very actively in the summer they have fewer problems with weeds, diseases, and insect pests. But during the winter they brown up at the first killing frost, going dormant for four or five months until they start to grow in mid-April or early May. Warm season grasses do not have heavy irrigation needs; in fact, they need 30 percent less water than cool season grasses.

Major types of warm season grasses are bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and St. Augustine grass. Let’s take a look at the positive and negative qualities of these four.

Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass is a good choice for athletic fields, golf course fairways, lawns, and parks because it withstands heavy traffic extremely well. It also holds up under extreme heat and drought and has low water needs. The highest quality bermudagrass is only available in sod, although some types can be seeded.

Bermudagrass grows laterally both above and below the ground, making it a very aggressive creeper—hard to keep out of flower beds. It does not tolerant shade at all and needs frequent mowing in summer.

The recommended fertilizer application rate is 1-4 pounds of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet per year. As with other grasses, how much you use depends on your needs and expectations for your lawn. Mowing height is 1 ½-2 inches.

Read more on Bermuda Grass.

Zoysiagrass

Zoysiagrass grows more slowly than bermudagrass and is more tolerant of shade. This dense turf grass stands up well to traffic, but its stiff blades make it very hard to mow. You need a powerful mower with sharp cutting edges to keep it ½ to 2 inches high.

An all-round, well-adapted turf grass, zoysiagrass has outstanding cold and drought tolerance and few weed and pest problems. Recommend nitrogen application is 1-2 pounds per year.

Centipedegrass

Centipedegrass grows very slowly, which means it does not invade flowerbeds but is slow to establish from seed. Compared to zoysia, this warm season grass is not as hardy but equally shade tolerant. Because centipedegrass has poor traffic tolerance it’s a popular choice for cemeteries, utility turf, and golf course roughs. It can work in lawns and parks that are more for show than walking on.

Centipedegrass tolerates drought and low fertility. Of all the warm season grasses it needs the least mowing (1 ½ to 2 ½ inches mowing height). Its nitrogen needs are also low (1 to 2 pounds per year). Overall, centipedegrass is a high quality and low maintenance warm season grass.

St. Augustine Grass

Wide-bladed St. Augustine grass is an aggressive grower that invades plant beds, but it’s not as aggressive as bermudagrass. While no grass grows well in dense shade, St. Augustine grass is the most shade tolerant warm season grass on the market. It does not, however, have good cold tolerance and has more pest and disease problems than other warm season grasses.

Like centipedegrass, St. Augustine grass does not tolerate heavy traffic. Homeowners value St. Augustine grass for the thick, lush turf it creates with relatively low maintenance. This turf grass needs 1-3 ½ pounds of nitrogen per year and a mowing height of 3-4 inches.

Choose the Right Grass

These four turf grasses provide a range of options for warm season growing. The right choice for you depends on your growing conditions, usage, and expectations for your lawn.