10 Jan How to Choose the Right Type of Sod
How to Choose the Right Type of Sod
There is an abundance of turfgrass varieties available for home lawns, and since grass is a costly living product, selecting a grass type for your lawn can be nerve-racking! The best thing you can do before purchasing a new lawn is research and build your knowledge base on the different types of grasses out there. Maintenance practices slightly change depending on the location you’re in, the soil type and the type of grass you have in your lawn. Selecting a turfgrass variety that matches the amount of money, time and resources you want to put into it makes a significant difference. When choosing a grass for your lawn, it is also important to know that there is a big distinction between warm season and cool season turfgrasses so that you can make the best decision based on geographic location that fits your climate. Sod University discusses different types of common turfgrass varieties: zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and centipedegrass. As a part of a series, Sod University will also be publishing individual blogs on each type of turfgrass in further detail this year. Sign-up for our Sod University e-newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay updated.
Zoysia is a warm season turfgrass variety native to Asia but has been in the United States for over a century. It is perennial, meaning it comes back every year in the spring after winter dormancy when grown in appropriate climates. It grows well in humid, tropical climates located in the southern United States. Widely known for its hardy characteristics and its ability to withstand heat, drought, heavy traffic, injury recovery and shade tolerance, this grass performs well in a wide range of conditions. Maintenance is usually greatly reduced when selecting zoysiagrass in comparison to other turfgrasses for your lawn. Zoysia creates a thick, soft carpet that chokes out weeds and produces stolons that creep along the surface of the soil and expand horizontally. Its excellent root systems allow you to cut water bills and its lateral growth keeps you from having to mow as frequently. Sod Solutions offers a range of zoysiagrass brands including: EMPIRE Turf®️ Zoysia, GeoTM Zoysia, InnovationTM Zoysia, Meyer, Palisades, and Zeon®️ Zoysia. Read more about zoysia maintenance here.
Like zoysiagrass, bermudagrass is also a warm season perennial turfgrass that comes back every spring after winter dormancy with a high curb appeal. Bermudagrass has an exceptional heat and drought tolerance and stands up to heavy traffic with high injury recovery. However, bermudagrass only grows well in the southern two-thirds of the United States and does not do well in colder temperatures. Bermudagrass is popular in home lawns, but is also commonly used in sports fields and golf courses. It has a finer grass blade and requires more maintenance than zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass roots typically reach about six inches deep into the soil, but can reach down to about six feet at times, making it very resilient to environmental factors like weeds, drought and other stressors. Bermudagrass also has the fastest growth rate of any warm season turfgrass. Sod Solutions offers a range of bermudagrass brands including: Celebration®️ Bermudagrass, Latitude 36TM Bermudagrass, NorthBridge®️ Bermudagrass, DiscoveryTM Bermudagrass and Tifway 419. Our varieties of bermudagrasses have also been used in a range of professional sports fields. Read about them here: Grasses on High Profile Sports Fields. To read more about bermudagrass maintenance, click here.
Like all other warm season turfgrasses, St. Augustine is a perennial grass that comes back every spring after winter dormancy. St. Augustine is extremely common in the southern two-thirds of the United States—especially along the Gulf Coast, Florida and Hawaii. St. Augustine has a thicker leaf blade than zoysia or bermudagrass, and has a very coarse texture. Its blue-green color makes for attractive curb appeal. St. Augustine performs well in many different soil types so long as there is proper drainage. This type of turfgrass variety performs well in full sun and tropical, humid climates as well as shaded areas of lawns. It also performs well in salty regions, making it widely used across the coast. It also establishes a very thick, lush carpet that withstands heavy foot traffic and outcompetes weeds. Sod Solutions offers a variety of St. Augustine grasses including: Palmetto®️ St. Augustine, CitraBlueTM St. Augustine, Floratam St. Augustine and Raleigh St. Augustine. For more information on St. Augustine maintenance, visit our generic St. Augustine maintenance guidelines here.
Centipede is a very common warm season turfgrass variety found throughout southern parts of the United States. It is known for its excellent heat tolerance, low maintenance requirements and low nutrient requirements. This grass is the perfect choice for homeowners located in the southern parts of the United States who want to participate in as little maintenance and upkeep as possible. Centipedegrass performs best in sandy soils with a pH reading as low as 4.5–6.0. A soil test will provide you with a proper pH reading so that you can determine if your soil will match centipedegrass needs. However, it is important to note that centipedegrass is sensitive to iron deficiencies, which cause your grass blades to turn yellow. This means you may need to make frequent applications of iron supplements. Be sure to check out LawnifiTM Recover, a liquid fertilizer high in iron nutrition. Due to its shallow roots, centipede will also require extra watering during weeks with low rainfall. However, centipede has an excellent stress recovery. It has a very good wear and injury recovery as well as a good shade tolerance. Sod Solutions offers varieties of centipedegrass including: SanteeTM Centipede and Common Centipede. Read more about centipede maintenance here.
Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season turfgrass variety that performs well in the northern parts of the United States. When this grass is properly cared for, it produces a rich, emerald blue-green color and dense, lush lawn with a medium to fine texture. However, this turfgrass variety is high maintenance, meaning a lot of time and resources have to be put into it. Kentucky bluegrass has an excellent winter hardiness, but as a result of shallow roots, it is susceptible to heat, drought and other stress damage. Established from seed, Kentucky bluegrass germinates more slowly than other cool season grasses such as perennial ryegrass. One of the main advantages of Kentucky bluegrass over other types of cool season turfgrasses is that it has the ability to spread with horizontally running rhizomes and heal itself when damaged. It has a high disease resistance and is very tolerant to typical wear and tear. Sod Solutions has several varieties of bluegrass including: Bella®️ Bluegrass, Premium Bluegrass, and HGT®️ Bluegrass. Learn more about bluegrass maintenance here.
Tall fescue is another cool season variety of turfgrass that does well in the northern parts of the United States as seen in the image of the map below. Tall fescue has an excellent wear and injury recovery and excellent heat and drought tolerance. This grass also performs well in shaded areas and continues to grow with minimum amounts of maintenance. Due to its bunch-like growth, it has a tendency to clump and may need to be re-seeded on an annual basis in areas with thin growth patterns after a stressful summer. Tall fescue does well with outcompeting weeds and fighting off insects or disease. Sod Solutions has several options for tall fescue including: Black BeautyTM and generic tall fescue. Refer to tall fescue maintenance guidelines on North Carolina State University’s Extension website here.
Now that you know a little more about different types of grasses, you can hopefully make a more educated decision on which type of grass you want to install in your home lawn. Browse through our variety of turfgrass varieties on our Shop Sod page or Shop Grass Plugs page. Plugs are a great option for repairing small areas of damage or when a full sod installation is just not practical. For more information, read our What are Sod Plugs and How to Use Them blog.
Lastly, if you are looking to install sod in your yard soon, be sure to check out our blog on Two Questions to Ask Before Selecting a New Turfgrass and our Sod Installation Guide.