Southern Lawn Grasses

These are the warm season grasses. They grow vigorously during the heat of summer, generally lack hardiness and usually turn brown in winter. They are widely grown in milder winter climates of the southeastern and southwestern United States. They should be fertilized after they begin growing in spring and then throughout the summer.  Plant in late spring into summer. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for information on local adaption and specific varieties that are best for your area. For more information on solving insect, disease and weed problems, go to the BioAdvanced Solution Center.



Bahiagrass is a tough, coarse looking grass that, due to its deep roots, is often recommended for erosion control. It tolerates drought and poor soils but is best in full sun.  Doesn’t create the highest quality lawn and is tough to mow, but should be cut of about 2-3 inches high. Plant from seed or sod. Few pests.



Vigorous, tough grass available in two types; common Bermudagrass and hybrid Bermudagrass.


Common Bermudagrass is a light green, fine textured grass that spreads vigorously by runners and seeds. It often becomes an unwanted weed, moving into flower beds and landscaped areas if not controlled. Common Bermudagrass is easily planted by seed and should be mowed low - about an inch high. It’s a tough, drought tolerant grass that withstands almost any condition except shade. Susceptible to Mole Crickets, Dollar Spot and Brown Patch


Hybrid Bermudagrass is also fine textured but brighter green. It does not produce seed so is slightly less aggressive and generally creates a higher quality lawn. It can be planted by sod, springs or plugs, and more recently by seed. Hybrid Bermudagrass is best mowed very low (3/4 –inch) with a reel mower, creating an almost putting green like appearance. It is susceptible to the same insects and diseases as Common Bermudagrass.



Centipedegrass makes a good, low maintenance, slow growing lawn that can get by on little fertilizer and has few pests but doesn’t withstand a lot of foot traffic. Medium to fine texture. Spreads by creeping stolons, hence the name. Will tolerate some shade but best in full sun. Plant from seed, sod or plugs. Good for sandy soils but not salty ones. Mow 1-2 inches high.


St Augustinegrass

St Augustinegrass is a broad bladed, coarse textured grass that is very popular along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. It’s a fast growing, deep rooted turf that spreads by stolons (surface runners). St. Augustinegrass is the best warm season grass for filtered shade. It is usually planted by sod or plugs. Usually mowed about 3 inches high. Dwarf varieties can be mowed lower (to 2 inches high). Tends to build-up thatch, especially if mowed too high. Subject to a variety of pests and diseases including Mole Crickets, Caterpillars, Chinch Bugs and Brown Patch. Choose varieties resistant to St. Augustine Decline, a serious virus disease in the southeast.


Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass forms a dense, medium textured, dark green lawn. It is among the hardiest warm season grasses and is usually planted by sod or plugs. Plugs can take up to two years to fill in. Can become weedy. Zoysia grass will take light shade but is best with at least 4 hours of direct sun. Mow 1-2 inches high. Choose varieties carefully. Newer ones green up quickly in spring and stay green longer in fall. Hardiness also varies. Tolerates drought and salty soils. Caterpillars, Chinch Bugs, Dollar Spot and Brown Patch can be problems.