The Best Grass Types for Florida

Read our guides about lawn care in Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a warm-season Floridian homeowner favorite and most widely planted grass in the state. It is medium to dark green in color and offers light traffic endurance through its quick growth. The grass has a high shade tolerance and is equipped with a competitiveness that warns off most weeds.

St.Augustine requires fertile soil conditions and slightly more water than some warm-season grasses. This grass does not do great in drought or cold weather. Florida has a humid and mostly hot climate that makes a nice home for St.Augustine.

Recommended mowing height: 3.5-4 in.

Bahia Grass

Bahia Grass is known to have excellent tolerance to drought and heat. It thrives in lawns with full sun exposure and grows really well near the coast. The grass has low fertilizer needs and few insect or disease problems. Where conditions are in the liking of Bahia grass, this grass offers a quality yard.

This grass type is not tolerant of heavy traffic or, like most warm-season grasses, cold weather.

Make sure not to mow this lawn too short, or its natural resilience to drought will be hindered.

Recommended mowing height: 2-4 in.

Zoysia Turf

Zoysia turf grass is one of the most aesthetically pleasing grasses grown in Florida. This lawn is soft to the touch and offers a cushion that allows you to walk barefoot. The full bloom of this grass is a vibrant green.

The downside to this grass is it has more upkeep than many of the warm-season grasses. It requires mowing up to twice a week, fertilizer, and heavier water requirements than its competing warm-season grasses.

Recommended mowing height: 1.5-3 in.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a low maintenance grass that needs little water and withstands high temperatures and drought. It also endures heavy traffic, so this grass can be good for pets and children. Like St. Augustine, Bermuda is a hearty grass that does well in Florida.

Some of the cons of Bermuda include low shade tolerance and low cold tolerance. This grass grows very fast which means more mowing.

Recommended mowing height: 1-1.5 in.

Lawn Mowing

Leave Leftover Clippings

Leftover clippings from mowing the lawn will act as a natural fertilizer for the soil. Some people assume that leftover clippings will add to thatch build-up, but this is not the case. If there is an abundance of clippings in one spot, you can rake them around to form an even layer. Bagging clippings can also lead to an unnecessary amount of trash that will end up in a landfill.

Mow When it is Dry

For Florida homeowners, mowing when it is dry may be hard. However, mowing when the lawn is wet can cause indentations into the lawn and damage the grass. Mowing in damp conditions will lead to an excess of thatch build up and can make the overall aesthetic of the lawn messy. A general rule of thumb is if your foot sinks into the ground it is too wet to mow. If there was just a short shower it will be fine to mow.

Common Lawn Diseases

Large Patch

Large patch is a fungal lawn disease that affects Zoysia and St.Augustine grass. It appears as a brownish circle that looks concave towards the middle. The patch will continue to expand over time if it is not taken care of. The disease is most prevalent in springtime when conditions become wetter.

Unfortunately, once this fungus hits, it can be hard to bring the lawn back to life. The best way to keep the fungus away from the lawn is to care for it properly before. Over-watering or incorrect lawn care will make a yard more susceptible to disease.

Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring is far from magic and gold dust. This disease appears as a hollow circle and will come back for years in the same place. These rings of death can stretch to 20 feet. Most diseases that arise in Florida are due to heavy rainfall. Carefully monitor how much water the lawn is receiving from both rain and irrigation systems. Fairy Ring, like other diseases, can be detrimental to a lawn once it hits. The best thing is to keep up with routine lawn care.

Common Weeds

Yellow Woodsorrel

Yellow Woodsorrel is a weed with little yellow flowers. Its surrounding foliage looks like clover. While this weed is not hard on the eyes, it can destroy a garden or a yard. This weed is most likely to begin growing in patchy or bare spots in a lawn. Maintaining a thick turf grass can keep most weeds away from the grass. If they are showing up in the yard they can be picked and are edible. The leaves and foliage offer a decorative addition to a meal.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass looks like a thick patch of grass that is yellow to green in color. The weed is an annual and comes out by early summer. The best preventative measure to take with this hearty weed is a pre-emergence herbicide. Application of the herbicide should be in summer when you would apply the lawns first fertilizer around the second mow of the season. The ‘when’ is very important to ensure Crabgrass does not take over your lawn.

Dollarweed

Dollar weed resembles lily pads with tall stalks. They often appear when the lawn has had an abundance of water. The weed can be pulled out manually, although, with its speedy growth it may prove to be a tedious task. To prevent the weed from coming into the lawn, make sure the lawn has a proper drainage system and there is no sitting water.

Quack Grass

Quack Grass is often confused with crabgrass because they are notably similar in appearance. However, Quack Grass can be a lot harder to get rid of than crabgrass. It is a year-round weed that thrives in most conditions. The best thing you can do to get rid of it is overseeding the weed with the permanent grass in the lawn. This will allow the permanent grass to outcompete the weed.

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