There are five types of grass that are most commonly used in Northeast Florida landscapes : Centipede, St. Augustine, Bahia, Zoisia and Bermuda. All these turf-types have different characteristics, the best choice depends on your personal preferences and the environment you'd like to install the grass. Below is a breakdown of five of the most popular types of Northeast Florida grasses and their pros + cons.
Pros: This is a low maintenance grass type needing very little fertilizer and semi-drought tolerant . It has a slender leaf blade and a tight-knit growth pattern that makes for an aesthetically pleasing leveled appearance. A centipede based-lawn can begin with sod, plugs, sprigs or seeds.
Cons: Some people do not like Centipede's natural, pale green appearance. This grass tends not to do well in shadier areas and prefers direct exposure to the sun. Centipede lawns are best left alone as much as possible, watering only when necessary and use very little nitrogen fertilizer (it does not do well when fertilized too frequently).
Pros: St. Augustine is a lush, dark green turf. It comes in several sub-types and is the most shade tolerant of all the turf grasses on this list. It's fast growth and ability to spread via by plugs or sprigs makes it a common choice in North Florida.
Cons: St. Augustine is not drought tolerant and very thirsty. It is also attracts chinch bugs. St. Augustine has a courser, thicker leaf blade than other grasses and requires a mowing height of at least 3-4 inches for optimum health.
Advantages: Bahia is the least popular type of grass for lawns in North East Florida. It's few advantages are usually out weighed by it's weighty disadvantages. The good part about Bahia is that it's very drought tolerant, lawns or fields that cannot be irrigated this grass might be a great Bahia candidates. Another positive aspect about Bahia is that it can be easily started from seed form which is an inexpensive option and Bahia is a very low maintenance grass requiring little fertilizer attention.
Disadvantages: Bahia isn't a dense turf option nor does it spread by runners like the other options. Bahia has a very free / open growth nature that does not compete well with weeds. During wet periods it grows quickly and may require mowing more than once a week in hot wet weather. Bahia grass is best suited for large open fields or utility areas where appearance is not a primary concern.
Advantages: For the most part, Bermuda is a sturdy grass with a dark green thinner leaf blade. Bermuda is hardy during droughts and takes well to frequent fertilization treatments. Bermuda can be easily established from seed, sod or sprigs.
Disadvantages: Interestingly Bermuda leaves are held up by the runner stems. The issue with this that uneven ground can cause a mower to take the green tops off the stems and leave patches of brown in the lawn. Bermuda is typically not shade tolerant, rather it tends to prefer direct sun.
Advantages: Zoysia forms a thick, lush turf ground cover. It can be established by sod or plugs, however, it spreads slowly, so if you use plugs it will take several seasons to fill in.
Disadvantages: Zoysia is a heavy feeder and requires frequent fertilizations. It is not shade tolerant. It grows fast and can require mowing more than once a week