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Southern Turfgrasses 101: For Southern Lawns & Landscapes

The southern United States hosts some of the most beautiful lawns and landscapes in the world and has a fascinating and unique range of climates and ecosystems. To get the most out of any lawn, it’s important to know about the turf you have and what it’s specifically cultivated for. Some turfgrasses are more adapted to withstand the cold, while others like our southern turfgrasses have developed excellent heat tolerance. To give you a better understanding of your lawn, we have broken down the basics and compiled the main species of southern turfgrasses, their uses, cultivars, and care.

St. Augustine Grass
Stenotaphrum secundatum

shutterstock_1740833153

Native to the Gulf of Mexico area, the West Indies, and Western Africa​ and found throughout southern and coastal regions of the United States​

In the early 1890s, St. Augustine grass became popular in Florida, hence its namesake. ​St. Augustine Is vegetatively propagated – produced via stolons, plugs, sod pods, or sod ​

St. Augustine grasses do not produce enough viable seed for commercialization, so there is ​no such thing as St. Augustine seed for lawns​. For this reason, seed is not produced for lawn propagation use and it is therefore not available for sale at your local garden center.​

St. Augustine Cultivars

The most common cultivars of St. Augustine grass include:

  • Floratam​
  • Palmetto®​
  • CitraBlue™​
  • Seville​
  • Raleigh​
  • Sapphire

Floratam™​

  • Floratam™ is a popular choice for homes in Florida 
  • High light requirement
  • Love of warmer climates
  • Attractiveness in the landscape. 

CitraBlue™

  • CitraBlue® St. Augustine grass was developed by the University of Florida​
  • Characteristics include:​
  • Deep blue-green color​
  • Less vertical growth – minimal mowing/maintenance​
  • Shade tolerant​
  • Versatile​
  • Disease resistance

Seville​

Seville is a blue-green semi-dwarf variety with excellent horizontal compact growth and great color retention​

  • Characteristics include:​
  • Blue-green color​
  • Semi-dwarf variety​
  • Excellent horizontal compact growth​
  • Shade tolerant
  • Characteristics include:​
  • Well suited for tropical and subtropical ​
  • Fair Drought Tolerance​
  • Good Heat Tolerance​
  • Excellent Cold Tolerance​
  • Fair Shade Tolerance​
  • Fair Wear Resistance

Zoysiagrassshutterstock_259673975

Zoysiagrasses are warm-season grasses native to China, Japan, and other parts of Southeast Asia. ​The species was named to commemorate an 18th-century Austrian botanist, Karl von Zois. ​In 1911, Zoysia matrella was introduced into the United States from Manila by a U.S.D.A. botanist, C. V. Piper.

EMPIRE Turf® Zoysia 

Characteristics include:​
  • Low Maintenance​
  • Soft, beautiful​
  • Excellent wear tolerance​
  • Less mowing and chemical applications​
  • Chinch bug resistant

Bermudagrassshutterstock_413161750

Toughest grass used for turf in the desert southwest, the southern plains, and​ the humid southeastern United States.​

Attributes include:​

  • Excellent resistance to heat and drought​
  • Low water use rate​
  • Dense sod formation​
  • Tolerance of a wide range of soil pH ranges​
  • Good tolerance to salty water and conditions​
  • Good traffic tolerance​
  • Relative ease of establishment​
  • Grows on hard soil surfaces and shallow soils, better than most other grasses

Bermudagrass Varieties

  • Celebration Bermudagrass​
  • Latitude 36 Bermudagrass​
  • NorthBridge Bermudagrass​
  • Tifway419 Bermudagrass​
  • TifTuf Bermudagrass​
  • Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass​
  • Bimini Bermudagrass

While you now know the basics of southern turfgrasses, you are far from being a landscape professional. To take care of the fertilization, mowing, irrigation, and landscape management needs, Down To Earth is here to help. For more than 30 years, Down To Earth Landscape & Irrigation has shaped Florida’s communities and businesses. When you’re ready to make a difference you can see, visit dtelandscape.com/contact

 

Sources

  1. Sod Solutions, http://www.sodsolutions.com
  2. UF/IFAS,  https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/lawn-care/best-care-practices.html