Once your new Brigon home is complete on the inside it’s time to put the finishing touches on the outside. We don’t mean shingles or paint or even light fixtures. That’s all been done. What we’re talking about here is your landscaping, beautifying the land around your house with the right plants… and the best type of sod.

If you’re like most folks, you’ll be considering laying down sod to cover the majority of your yard. In fact, covering the ground with grass is even mandated in some communities. But what type of turf should you consider? Considerations like climate, water requirements, foot traffic, care and maintenance, and general appearance should be taken into account before you settle on a particular variety of ground cover. What worked well up north may not thrive on your Florida lawn. There are even varieties that grow well in some parts of Florida but not in others. So what works?

Let’s cut to the chase. There are four types of grass that grow well in the Charlotte County area: Bahia, St. Augustine (a.k.a. Floratam), Zoysia, and Bermuda. Eliminate Bermuda grass right off the bat unless you have a penchant for hard work. While hearty in our climate and somewhat salt tolerant, Bermuda requires a great deal of specialized maintenance to keep it golf-course gorgeous. The remaining three are viable options depending on the above conditions.

Bahia grass is hearty. Usually kept at a height of three to four inches, this species does well in acidic, sandy soil, which describes almost anywhere in Charlotte County unless you’ve trucked in topsoil from somewhere else. Its tolerance to drought is excellent, a good thing when rainfall diminishes during winter months. Although it must be said that the way Bahia accomplishes this is to turn brown and go dormant. It looks dead, but will spring back to life with adequate irrigation. It also resists most nematodes and requires a lower level of maintenance. The downside? Bahia is not very salt tolerant, so not a good choice if you live on the coast or on an estuary. It also needs lots of sunlight. Bahia should be avoided in yards with big shade trees. Coverage also has a coarser look, less lush when compared to other varieties. And if you plan on a lot of foot traffic don’t plant Bahia. It does poorly in the wear tolerance department.

What about Zoysia? This grass is comfortable growing just about anywhere in Florida, including the Charlotte area. You can keep it clipped lower, around one and a half inches, if you prefer the super-manicured look. Salt tolerance is good. Shade tolerance is good. And it grows well in a variety of soils. Zoysia requires a bit more maintenance than Bahia and does fairly well during the dry winter months. Even though the blades appear much finer than Bahia, the category where Zoysia really shines is in the wear and tear department. If you have an abundance of children or grandchildren or even large, active pets this may be the grass for you. It stands up really well under foot.

St. Augustine, or Floratam as the Florida hybrid version is referred to, is probably the most popular variety of grass you’ll see on everyone’s lawn. Why? It looks great and can also handle a wide variety of conditions. If you keep the blades trimmed at an average height of three to four inches, St. Augustine will send out hearty runners that criss-cross to create a thick mat of turf that completely covers the soil and prevents erosion. The rainy season doesn’t overwhelm it and it does fairly well in drought with occasional help from an irrigation system. The grass resists most pests but is not impervious to all and may need periodic treatment to maintain a uniform look. The blades have a medium appearance that falls in between the coarse Bahia and fine Zoysia. And it can keep its good looks in traffic areas, too, though pets can wear it out by running over the same area all day long. You do need to keep St. Augustine in check around the edges, however. Those runners have a tendency to wander and, if not trimmed each time the yard is cut, can wind up under your shrubs and inside your flower beds.

So that’s the short and skinny on grass in Florida. Brigon Homes thanks you for reading! For more information on grasses or landscaping in general please visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/plants_and_grasses/ This website is run by the University of Florida and is a great place to learn about the research their agriculture departments have conducted over the years. You can also see pictures of the varieties we mentioned in this blog. And, of course, if we can help you further, please send us an email at Brigon Homes brigonhomes@gmail.com