What is the best grass for my yard?
This is not an easy question and takes quite a bit of thought and consideration. Macon / Warner Robins are within the transition zone meaning we experience a good bit of warm and cold weather. Warm season grasses are the only option in Macon / Warner Robins. Cool season grasses like Rye, Blue, or Fescue grass are very pretty but they CANNOT survive our summers PERIOD. Now that that’s settled here are the important considerations to figure out what grass is best for your yard.
IMPORTANT! Don’t plant a grass in any environment where it will not thrive. A weak stand of grass is more succeptible to the incidence of disease and insects. It will cost you more money to keep the grass healthy.
How much sunlight does my grass need? The most important consideration are the light levels of the site. Grass has to have sunlight to produce energy. Light levels are as follows: Full Sun / Part Sun / Part Shade / Full Shade
Full Sun = 8 or more hours of direct sunlight
Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia
Part Sun = 6 – 8 hours
Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, or St. Augustine
Part Shade = 4 – 6 hours
St. Augustine or select Zoysia cultivars
Full Shade = less than 4 hours of sunlight
In these conditions you should not attempt to establish turf. Consider ground covers such as; moss, dichondra, dwarf mondo, jasmine, winter creeper, ivy, vinca, pachysandra, ferns, pinestraw, mulch, or even artificial turf.
Intensity of available sunlight will vary by location, i.e. morning sun is less intense mid day or afternoon.
How much water does my grass need? Do you have a sprinkler system or will you be dragging hoses? The most drought tolerant grass is bermuda. There is a new variety called TifTuf which has incredible drought tolerance. That can equal savings! Click here to calculate how much. For more information on TifTuf check out our blog post here. There really is no substitution for a sprinkler system. It can be programed to water the grass at the optimal times. Most people will not wake up at the crack of dawn to start watering the yard. If you need an estimate on a sprinkler system click here. We don’t recommend investing any money in grass until you have a sprinkler system. A good rule of thumb for warm season grasses is 1”/week. Zoysia, centipede, and St. Augustine need more water than bermuda in times of drought.
How to establish a lawn? There are three options available sodding, sprigging, and seeding. Most contractors install sod. All warm season grasses are available in sod and it’s an instant lawn. Some grasses can be sprigged or plugged but you will need to find a contractor with specialized equipment. Establishment takes much longer than sod. Seeding can be done but it’s important to note that no hybrid bermuda, hybrid zoysia, or St. Augustine cultivars are available from seed. Non hybridized bermuda and zoysia can be grown in about a year. Centipede takes a long long time to get established from seed and usually requires a cover or nurse crop along with it like carpet grass.
How often will I have to cut the grass? Bermuda is the fastest growing grass, it must be mowed at least once a week. Twice a week is even better. It needs to be maintained at lower mowing heights and if it isn’t mowed often enough it’s prone to scalping and will not look good. Growth rates of zoysia vary greatly among cultivars but most are fairly moderate and can be mowed every other week. Centipede has a moderate growth rate and can be mowed every other week. All three of these grasses need to be mowed fairly close. St. Augustine needs to be maintained longer than other grasses at least 3 inches tall but every other week is fine. How often you’ll have to mow it’s definitely something to consider when deciding which grass is best for your yard.
How much does grass costs? Cost of installation vary by method. Seed is typically the cheapest but limits what can be planted, takes the longest, and is least successful. Sprigging or plugging will usually cost more than seeded but can be established much faster. Sod has the highest up front cost but gives you an instant lawn. The grass you choose will also affect the cost. Centipede and bermuda are usually much cheaper than St. Augustine or Zoysia. Some other things to consider are how much water it will need, how often it has to be mowed, and what kind of fertilizer/pesticide inputs are required to keep it healthy. Costs are a major factor in choosing what grass is best for your yard.
For more information on choosing the best grass for your yard in Macon / Warner Robins check out our service here.