The 5 Best Grass Types for Baton Rouge, LA Lawns
The summers in Baton Rouge are long and hot. (Fun fact: The Long, Hot Summer was filmed nearby.) The July high is around 91 degrees. The comfort index, determined by the humidity during the summer months, is 26 out of 100—the higher the number, the more comfortable. For comparison, the U.S. average comfort index is 44. In a nutshell, Baton Rouge is oppressively humid—or sultry, which sounds more exotic.
Residents enjoy those sultry summers along the Mississippi, despite the unwritten rule that you must complain about the heat at least once a day. You can take a dip in one of the many spring-fed swimming holes. Or cool off with a lime-flavored sno-ball. As the end of the day nears, you can relax on your front porch or under a sprawling Live Oak with an ice-cold glass of sweet tea and admire your lawn that is flourishing despite the heat.
Warm-season grasses like sultry weather, and five, in particular, are viable choices for Baton Rouge.
1. Bermuda Grass
Photo: Flickr / Scot Nelson
Bermuda grass, sometimes called wire grass or couch grass, began life as a weed used only for pastures until it became popular for lawns in the 1920s. It is now one of the most popular grasses in the South.
Bermuda, with its gray-green, rough-edged blades and purple stems, tolerates heat, burning sun, and drought. It’s low-to-the-ground, tenacious, and provides a thick ground cover that will stand up to whatever heavy traffic comes its way. It just doesn’t cotton to shade.
2. Centipede Grass
Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr
Centipede grass, also known as Chinese lawn grass, is sometimes called the “lazy man’s grass,” because it grows slowly and needs less fertilization than other grasses that do well in humid areas. In fact, too much fertilizer can damage it by causing excessive build-up of thatch, iron chlorosis (which turns the grass yellow), or dieback (dying from the tips of its blades to its roots), also called “Centipede decline.”
Centipede is a crabapple-green, medium-textured grass that is popular for Baton Rouge lawns that don’t get much traffic. Unlike Bermuda, it has little tolerance for drought and does very well in the shade.
3. St. Augustine Grass
Photo: Flickr / Jay Morgan
St. Augustine grass, also called Charleston grass, is happiest in climates that are similar to its namesake, St. Augustine, Florida—hot and humid, like Baton Rouge.
St. Augustine varies from a bright light green to dark green. It’s a medium-to-high-maintenance grass that forms a thick, carpet-like turf that is usually successful at crowding out most weeds. It is sometimes susceptible to SAD, St. Augustine Decline, that causes a mottling of the blades.
It has a high tolerance for shade, but not for drought. It requires regular watering to thrive.
4. Zoysia Grass
Photo: Flickr / Forest and Kim Starr
Zoysia grass is one of the most beautiful lawn grasses in the South. The fine-to-medium-textured leaf provides a thick, soft carpet of lawn that is second to none, while exceptional in its ability to withstand heavy traffic.
Zoysia has a deep root system, so you’ll spend less time watering it than other grasses. In addition to being “drought friendly,” it can tolerate full sun to light shade, has few nutrition requirements, resists weeds due to its density, and is not prone to insect or disease problems. As an “extra added attraction,” it needs to be mowed less frequently than other grasses.
5. Carpet Grass
Photo: Flickr / Aitor Morant
Carpet grass is also known as Louisiana grass. It’s native to the interior Gulf states and similar tropical climates.
Carpet is a coarse-leaved and light green grass that provides a dense turf. Its leaves are blunt and rounded, and a distinctive (and objectionable) characteristic is its seed stalks with two branches at the top. Carpet needs to be mowed frequently. During the growing season, new seed stalks are produced about every five days. If untended, they can grow to about 12 inches and that’s one unsightly lawn.
Other than that annoyance, Carpet is fairly low maintenance. It thrives with very little fertilization and occasional watering. It tolerates some shade and high traffic.
Have a question about different grass types or lawn care? Visit our Baton Rouge, LA lawn care page or share your thoughts in the comments section below.