How Do I Choose a Type of Grass?

best type of grassAt Turf Shield, we’ve created our blog as a place homeowners can look to for lawn care tips and quick advice from our professionals. But arguably the most important step toward building and maintaining a lawn you and your family can enjoy is selecting the right type of grass to begin with. Few people realize just how many varieties of grass are available to choose from and how much these brands vary. That’s why we’re here – to break down the choices and help you choose the best type of grass for your yard based on factors like geography, shading, budget, maintenance levels, and more.

What types of grass will thrive in Atlanta?

The best way to begin choosing a grass is by looking closely at where you’re located, because this effects the temperature, soil, and seasonal changes, all of which will impact your checklist of what to look for in your grass. The most important distinction is whether your region is ideal for “cool season” or “warm season” grasses. Interestingly, Atlanta lies at the junction of these two areas. For the most part, warm season grasses are best for residents of metro Atlanta, although the farther north you are, the most likely you are to need a cool season grass instead. Here’s a closer look at the five most commonly successful grasses in the Atlanta area:

Bermuda Grass:

  • Grows well on a wide variety of soils
  • Goes dormant as soon as the temperature drops in the fall (giving it a brown color), but survives cold temperatures well and returns to green in the spring
  • Resistant to heavy foot traffic
  • Needs plenty of sun and little or no shade to grow well
  • Grows aggressively, which means that it can take to your lawn quickly, but it can be difficult to keep from invading flower beds, gardens, and landscaping areas
  • Low-maintenance lawn care

Centipede Grass:

  • Grows slowly but aggressively, so it can choke out weeds but takes several months to take to your lawn
  • Can be easily kept from invading flower beds, gardens, and landscaped areas
  • Can grow successfully in soil with poor fertility
  • Low-maintenance and more resistant to many pests
  • Fairly tolerant of cold, but can be killed by extended temperatures of 5 degrees or lower
  • Can tolerate a small amount of shade
  • May be damaged by temperature swings in the spring

St. Augustine Grass:

  • Survives drought conditions well
  • Moderately resistant to heavy foot traffic, though not as durable as some other varieties
  • Can tolerate a small to moderate amount of shade
  • Ideal for moist, semi-fertile soils
  • Grows aggressively, so it can provide some weed control, but can also be controlled around borders
  • Poor cold tolerance – can be damaged when temperatures fall below 20 degrees

Zoysia Grass:

  • Highly tolerant of drought conditions, though it does become dormant in extreme drought
  • Grows slowly
  • Tolerates very little shade
  • Can endure a moderate amount of foot traffic
  • Highly aggressive, which means that it can choke out many weeds, but that it can also spread into flower beds and other unwanted areas

Tall Fescue

  • Grows very quickly during the spring and fall
  • Cool season grass, which means it’s most successful the farther north you are
  • Tolerates shade and high foot traffic well
  • Not as drought-resistant as most warm season grasses
  • Can go dormant in hot weather, returning to green when the weather cools
  • Must be reseeded every fall, because it does not spread by the root system in the way warm season grasses do

While we’ve laid out a helpful summary, choosing your lawn is a complex decision, and a grass that has thrived for your neighbor may be unsuccessful for you. To find out what type of grass best fits your needs and how to best take care of it, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawn care professionals who can evaluate the many features of your yard and recommend the ideal grass for you and your family.