The 5 Best Grass Types for Tallahassee, FL Lawns

Tallahassee lies within the “warm/humid” zone on the Grass Selection Map. We probably didn’t have to tell you that. The long summers with temperatures that can reach 100°F and relative humidity that can get up into the 90 percentile are enough of a clue. It’s also not going to be big news that you need to use a warm-season grass for your lawn.

Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia all work really well in warm/humid zones. You need to decide how important appearance is and how much time and money you’re willing to invest in maintenance. Is your lawn going to be an untouched “diva,” or is it going to be part of the fun as it “hosts” volleyball games? Is the grass going to be in the sun all day or in the shade or some of both? Also, factor in Tallahassee’s annual average of 62 inches of rain (the U.S. average is 37 inches as a comparison).

1. Bermuda Grass

bermuda-grass

Photo: Flickr / Scot Nelson

Bermuda is the Southern favorite. It is a low-growing grass with gray-green, rough-edged blades and purple stems that produces a thick, dense lawn. It loves bright sunlight and heat and deals well with drought. Its density makes it strong enough to crowd out any weeds that try to encroach.

Bermuda doesn’t like shade, so it may not be suitable for all areas of your lawn. It also has a peculiar problem: its blades are held up by the stems of the runners. If the ground is uneven, your mower can lop off the green tops of the stems and leave you with brown patches in your lawn until new blades grow.

2. Centipede Grass

centipede-grass

Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr

Centipede’s fine leaf and tight growing pattern makes a nice lawn that is easy to maintain. It grows slowly, so you don’t have to mow it as often as other grasses. You only have to fertilize it once a year. It’s relatively drought tolerant and wants to be watered only when necessary. You know it’s necessary when you step on the grass and it doesn’t spring back. It can tolerate some shade, but thrives in full sunlight.

It’s a pale green, and that turns some people off. It also doesn’t take well to traffic. The slow growing that allows you to mow less frequently also tests your patience. It can take three seasons to fully establish a new lawn.

3. St. Augustine Grass

st-augustine-grass

Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr

St. Augustine provides a dense dark green turf. It grows rapidly and is the most shade tolerant of the warm-season grasses. It greens up well in the spring—as soon as the soil warms, it’s ready to go. Its thick blades trap moisture close to the ground, which makes it perform well in dry conditions.
St. Augustine can have problems with the Tallahassee rain. If it stays wet too long, particularly in shaded areas, it’s susceptible to a fungus called “gray leaf spot.” It also is not going to be happy as a “court” for the volleyball game.

4. Zoysia Grass

zoysia-grass

Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr

Zoysia’s fine blades form a thick, lush lawn with a dark green color. It thrives in direct sunlight, but does well in partial shade. It is drought resistant, but will need more water during the hotter months compared to other grass types. Zoysia stays green longer also and is one of the first to green up in the spring. Plus it’ll take on that volley ball game.

It grows slowly, so it may take a few seasons to mature, yet it needs to be mowed frequently to avoid a “puffy” lawn due to overly thick grass.

5. Bahia Grass

bahia-grass

Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr

Bahia is used on fewer Tallahassee lawns than the other grass types even though it grows rapidly and is drought tolerant. It also needs little fertilization and watering due to its deep root system.
One problem with Bahia that makes it less popular is that its open growth pattern does not form a dense lawn and it is no match for invading weeds. Also, its dull color is . . . well, dull. It’s great for large fields or utility areas where “useful” is more important than “decorative.”

Which grass type has worked the best for you?

Visit our Tallahassee lawn care page or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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