Choosing a grass for your Central Florida Lawn
Central Florida is a great place to live for many reasons, one of which is the opportunity to maintain a beautiful lawn year-round. With so many options to choose from, selecting the right grass type for your home lawn can be a daunting task. However, with the right information and guidance, you can make an informed decision that will result in a lush, green, and healthy lawn. In this article, we’ll go over the various grass types available and provide tips on selecting the perfect one for your Central Florida home.
St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass is the most popular choice for Central Florida lawns due to its adaptability to the region’s climate and soil conditions. This grass type thrives in warm, humid environments and can tolerate moderate shade, making it a great option for lawns with some tree cover. St. Augustine grass requires regular watering and fertilization but is relatively low maintenance in terms of mowing. The most common mistake homeowners make in maintaining St. Augustine Grass is mowing it too low. Most cultivars require a mowing height of 3 to 4 inches. Make sure you know the mowing requirements for your specific type of St. Augustine Grass.
St. Augustine Cultivars
Floratam: Floratam is one of the most common types of St. Augustine grass in Central Florida. It is a hybrid cultivar that is highly resistant to chinch bugs and other Orlando lawn pests. Floratam grows quickly and has a coarse texture, making it ideal for high-traffic areas like sports fields and parks.
Palmetto: Palmetto is a slow-growing cultivar with a finer texture than Floratam. It has a deep green color and is highly tolerant of shade, making it a popular choice for lawns with lots of trees.
Bitterblue: Bitterblue is a cultivar known for its blue-green color and fine texture. It is slower growing than other St. Augustine grasses, but it is highly resistant to disease and insects.
Seville: Seville is a dwarf cultivar that is ideal for small lawns or areas with limited space. It has a fine texture and a bright green color, but it requires more frequent mowing than other St. Augustine grasses.
Captiva: Captiva is a newer cultivar that was developed specifically for its cold tolerance. It has a medium texture and a vibrant green color, and it can tolerate temperatures as low as 5°F.
ProVista: ProVista grass has a slower growth rate than other St. Augustine varieties, which means it requires less mowing and fertilization. It is also more drought-tolerant than other St. Augustine varieties, which makes it a good choice for areas with limited water availability. What makes ProVista unique is that it has been genetically modified to produce an enzyme that inhibits the production of chlorophyll, which is what gives plants their green color and helps them grow. ProVista is most famously known for being the first glyphosate (RoundUp) tolerant turfgrass on the market.
Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that can handle both full sun and moderate shade. It has a fine texture and a dense growth pattern, which makes it ideal for high-traffic areas. Zoysia grass is drought-resistant and requires minimal watering but does need regular fertilization and mowing. Different types of Zoysia include:
Emerald Zoysia: This is a slow-growing, fine-bladed grass that is often used on golf courses and high-end landscapes. It has a deep green color and a dense, carpet-like texture. It is tolerant to drought, heat, and shade, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Zoysia Matrella: Also known as Manila Grass, Zoysia Matrella is a type of zoysia grass that has a finer blade than Emerald Zoysia. It is often used on golf courses and sports fields due to its durability and ability to recover quickly from wear and tear. It has a dark green color and a dense growth habit, and it is resistant to pests and diseases.
Zeon Zoysia: This is a relatively new variety of zoysia grass that was developed in Texas. It has a medium-fine texture and a bright green color, and is known for its drought tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It is ideal for use in residential lawns and commercial landscapes.
Cavalier Zoysia: This is a warm-season grass that has a medium-fine texture and a dark green color. It is known for its drought tolerance, heat tolerance, and ability to grow in sandy soil. It is often used on golf courses, sports fields, and residential lawns.
El Toro Zoysia: This is a coarse-bladed zoysia grass that has a deep green color. It is known for its drought tolerance and ability to grow in a variety of soil types. It is often used on golf courses, parks, and other large landscapes.
Icon Zoysia: This cultivar is known for its fine-textured blades, dense growth habit, and attractive emerald green color. One of the unique characteristics of Icon Zoysia grass is its ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, including heat, drought, and salt. It also has good shade tolerance, making it a popular choice for lawns.
Bahia grass is a hardy grass type that is resistant to drought, pests, and diseases. It is well suited for Central Florida’s sandy soils and can thrive in full sun or partial shade. Bahia grass is low maintenance and requires minimal watering and fertilization. However, it can grow rapidly and requires more frequent mowing than other grass types. Bahia grass has a deep root system that allows it to access water and nutrients from the soil, making it more resistant to pests and disease. It also has a relatively low nitrogen requirement, which means it doesn’t need as much fertilizer as other grasses.
Bermuda grass is a popular choice for sports fields and golf courses due to its high tolerance for heavy foot traffic. This grass type thrives in full sun and requires regular watering and fertilization to maintain its lush appearance. Bermuda grass can grow aggressively and requires frequent mowing. Bermuda grass requires full sunlight or 8 to 10 hours to thrive, making it less popular for home lawns that have trees and shrubs (or anything that creates a shady environment). Popular types of bermuda grass are as follows:
Tifway 419: This is a hybrid Bermuda grass cultivar that is highly resistant to disease and pests, making it a popular choice for sports fields, golf courses, and high-traffic areas. Tifway 419 has a fine texture, a dark green color, and a dense growth pattern that makes it highly durable and attractive.
Celebration: This is another hybrid Bermuda grass cultivar that is known for its high shade tolerance and disease resistance. Celebration has a medium texture, a dark green color, and a thick growth pattern that makes it ideal for residential lawns and commercial landscapes.
Latitude 36: Known for its fine texture, dense growth pattern, and dark green color, Latitude 36 is a hybrid grass variety that was developed by Oklahoma State University. It is widely used in sports fields, golf courses, and residential lawns in warm climates. Latitude 36 Bermuda Grass has excellent cold tolerance, which means it can survive in colder climates than other Bermuda grass varieties. It also has good drought tolerance, which allows it to thrive in hot and dry conditions.
Bimini: Bimini Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that is commonly used for turfgrass and forage production. The grass has a fine-textured appearance and is dark green in color, which makes it an attractive option for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. It is also known for its high tolerance to drought, heat, and salt, making it well-suited for use in coastal areas and other regions with challenging growing conditions.