5 Best Grass Types in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

One of the rainiest metro areas in the state, Fort Lauderdale is a prime location for grasses to flourish aplenty. And while we get more than 60 inches of rain each year, our growing population has put a strain on our resources. But even with year-round water restrictions and a June 1-Sept. 30 fertilizer ban, Fort Lauderdaleans are blessed with the ability to grow a beautiful lawn. Follow the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program to conserve water and still maintain curb appeal.

To get started, here are the five best options for your Fort Laudy lawn:

1. St. Augustinegrass

St. Augustine grass is salt-tolerant, dense, dark green and has wide, rounded blades. Hence, it’s the most frequently chosen grass type in our state.

Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Stolons
Shade tolerance: St. Augustinegrass boasts more shade tolerance than other warm-season varieties.
Drought tolerance: Can flourish in times of drought, but may need supplemental irrigation to maintain its color.
Foot traffic tolerance: Low. Repeated heavy wear and tear is a no-go for this type.
Maintenance needs: Fertilize every eight to 10 weeks, but as noted above, city law requires you to take a break from fertilizing June 1-Sept. 30. As for watering, St. Augustinegrass only needs ¾ to 1 inch of water per week.
Recommended mowing height: Mow weekly to a height of 3.5 to 4 inches (shorter for dwarf varieties).

2. Bahiagrass

Able to thrive in the low-nutrient, highly acidic, sandy soil of our region, bahiagrass has wide leaf blades and ranges in color from light to dark green.
Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Above-ground stems (stolons) and underground stems (rhizomes.)
Shade tolerance: Bahiagrass has a low tolerance for shade and prefers full sun.
Drought tolerance: Extremely high tolerance for drought and heat
Foot traffic tolerance: Because of its thickness, this lawn type stands up well to moderate foot traffic.
Maintenance needs: Low. Bahiagrass doesn’t need much fertilizer, and watering should be on an as-needed basis up to the top 8 inches of soil.
Recommended mowing height: Since this grass is slow-growing, you can mow every one to two weeks to a height of 3 to 4 inches.

3. Bermudagrass

For a medium to dark green lawn with a high salt tolerance, a fine-textured Bermudagrass is a great option.
Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
Shade tolerance: A lover of full sun, Bermudagrass does not tolerate shade well.
Drought tolerance: High. This type can survive off of natural rainfall but will go dormant during extended dry periods.
Foot traffic tolerance: Its dense turf allows Bermudagrass to withstand heavy foot traffic.
Maintenance needs: High. Requires monthly fertilization during the summer months. Water as needed to the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.
Recommended mowing height: To keep up with rapid growth and avoid thatch buildup, mow once or twice weekly to a height of 1 to 2 inches.

4. Centipedegrass

Newly adapted to our soil, centipedegrass grows low to the ground and comes in a lighter green hue than other warm-season types. It is not very tolerant of saltwater.
Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Stolons
Shade tolerance: Light shade tolerance, but needs at least six hours of full sun.
Drought tolerance: This type is able to withstand drought by going dormant.
Foot traffic tolerance: Not well-suited to heavy wear and tear.
Maintenance needs: Low. Fertilize one to three times per growing season, and water on an as-needed basis — or at the sign of wilting or discoloration.
Recommended mowing height: Due to its slow-growing nature, you can mow every one to two weeks to a height of 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

5. Zoysiagrass

There are many varieties of Zoysia, but Zoysia Japonica, also known as Japanese lawn grass, is the best variety for Fort Lauderdale yards. It has a coarse texture and light green leaves that fade to brown when cooler weather hits.

Classification: Warm-season grass
Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
Shade tolerance: Average, but needs about four hours of full sun each day.
Drought tolerance: High, but will turn brown under prolonged dry conditions. When watered, Zoysia will green up again.
Foot traffic tolerance: Zoysia’s denseness helps it stand up to heavy foot traffic.
Maintenance needs: Low. Zoysia can survive on one or two fertilizations per year and 1 inch of water per week.
Recommended mowing height: Mow weekly or biweekly to a height of 1 to 2 inches.

The foundation of every well-manicured yard is its grass. Pick the right one, and you’ll have a lawn you can be proud of.

Need help preparing your lawn? Visit our Fort Lauderdale lawn care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Fort Lauderdale, we provide lawn care services in other Florida cities, including Tampa and Orlando.

Main image credit: LuizCent, Wikimedia, CC by SA 4.0.

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler

Descendant of the Fulani tribe, Gettysburg-obsessed Marine Corps brat, and lover of all things writing and editing, Andréa Butler launched Sesi magazine and has penned articles for sites, such as LivingSocial, Talbot Digital, Xickle, Culturs magazine, and Rachel Ray. Andréa holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.A. in magazine journalism from Kent State University.