The first step to a perfect lawn is choosing your grass. All of the below mentioned sod and turf varieties are mostly suitable for our soil conditions in the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida region. Sometimes local soil testing or analysis is recommended to determine your exact soil type. Also consider the characteristics of your yard, how much sun and shade it gets in certain areas and in different times of the year.
Floratam is probably one of the most common turf grasses used in Northeast Florida, as it was specifically designed for Florida's climate. This grass thrives in direct sun and provides an attractive, plush looking lawn with a blue-green hue. It is a very adaptable grass, and flourishes under a variety of soil conditions. Floratam is the most vigorous St. Augustine--one of the two commercially available St. Augustine grasses resistant to Southern chinch bugs. It should have at least 6-7 hours of sunlight daily (8 would be better) to maintain good cover. In Jacksonville St. Augustine Grass should be maintained at 2 to 4 inches of mowing height.
Some consider the ultimate turf. Produces a beautiful, lush, velvet-like lawn. Grows rapidly in most soils. Subject to weed invasion. Performs poorly in shade. Requires high maintenance. It provides about as manicured a lawn as you’ll find in a warm-season grass, but at the expense of much more maintenance. It is not recommended for a low-maintenance owner. Bermudagrass grows best in full sun, has medium to fine texture, drought resistant, highly versatile, salt tolerant, and can be established from seed. In Jacksonville Bermuda Grass should be maintained at 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches of mowing height.
Excellent all-around lawn grass. Grows slowly. Prefers clay or sandy soil. Resists weed invasion. Performs well in shade. Requires moderate maintenance. There are many zoysiagrass cultivars grown commercially, but use of this species has been limited in Florida. Zoysiagrasses generally have good shade tolerance. They handle traffic well and are adapted to a wide range of soil types. Many of the zoysiagrass cultivars have excellent cold tolerance and are often used in northern climates. Generally speaking, however, zoysiagrasses are slow-growing, making establishment difficult, especially when planting by plugs. Some zoysiagrasses are also susceptible to nematodes, which are very difficult to manage in the home lawn. Zoysia grass is typically more expensive in Jacksonville. In Jacksonville Zoysia Grass should be maintained at 1/2 to 2 inches of mowing height.
Produces good turf with little management. Slow but aggressive grower. Prefers granular or well-drained soil. Relatively weed-free. Good shade tolerance. Medium texture. Pale to medium green. Needs very little maintenance. Centipedegrass is sometimes referred to as “the poor man's grass” because it does not like to be highly managed. It does best with very low annual rates of nitrogen. When managed as a low input turf, it does not grow quickly and mowing needs are reduced compared to most other species. This species does not naturally have a dark green color, but is a lighter shade of green. Sometimes people overfertilize it to induce deep green coloring, but this can actually be detrimental to the grass over time. In Jacksonville Centipede Grass should be maintained at 1 to 1-1/2 inches of mowing height.
Bahiagrass forms an extensive root system, which makes it one of our most drought-tolerant grasses. It performs well in infertile, sandy soils and does not require high inputs of fertilizers. It does not form excessive thatch. It may be grown from seed, which is abundant and relatively cheap, or it may be established from sod, sprigs, or plugs. It has relatively few disease problems, and mole crickets are the only primary insect problem.
Bahiagrass forms tall, unsightly seed heads throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. This necessitates mowing on a regular schedule. Because the seed stems are tough, it also makes it more difficult to mow than some other grass species. Bahiagrass does not perform well in high-pH soils and is susceptible to mole crickets. It does not have good tolerance to shade, traffic, or saltwater. in Jacksonville Bahia Grass should be maintained at 2 to 3 inches mowing height.