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How to Choose the Right Type of Sod

Geo Zoysia Grass Top View

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 on the different types of grasses and the different types of sod out there. Maintenance practices slightly change depending on the location you’re in, the soil type and the type of grass you have on 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 sod grass varieties: zoysia grass, bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, Kentucky bluegrass and centipede grass.

Zoysia Sod

Zoysia is a warm season turfgrass variety native to Asia but has been in the United States for over a century. It’s 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 zoysia grass 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 zoysia grass brands including EMPIRE®️ ZoysiaGeo® ZoysiaInnovationTM ZoysiaMeyerPalisades and Zeon®️ Zoysia. Check out the Zoysia Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep zoysia requires and be sure to read the All About Zoysia Sod blog for more information.

Bermuda Grass Sod

Like zoysia grass, bermuda grass is also a warm season perennial turfgrass that comes back every spring after winter dormancy with a high curb appeal. Bermuda grass has exceptional heat and drought tolerance and stands up to heavy traffic with high injury recovery. However, bermuda grass only grows well in the southern two-thirds of the United States and does not do well in colder temperatures. Bermuda grass 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 zoysia grass. Bermuda grass 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.

Bermuda grass also has the fastest growth rate of any warm season turfgrass. Sod Solutions offers a range of bermuda grass brands including Celebration®️ BermudagrassLatitude 36®️ BermudagrassNorthBridge®️ Bermudagrass, Discovery® Bermudagrass and Tifway 419. Our varieties of bermuda grasses have also been used in a range of professional sports fields. Read about them here: Grasses on High Profile Sports Fields. Check out the Bermudagrass Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep bermuda requires and be sure to read the All About Bermudagrass Sod blog for more information.

St. Augustine Sod

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 bermuda grass 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. AugustineCitraBlueTM St. AugustineFloratam St. Augustine and Raleigh St. Augustine. Check out the St. Augustine Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep St. Augustine requires. Be sure to read the All About St. Augustine Sod blog for more information.

Centipede Sod

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. Centipede grass 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 centipede grass needs. However, it is important to note that centipede grass 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 Lawnifi® 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 excellent stress recovery. It has a very good wear and injury recovery as well as good shade tolerance. Sod Solutions offers varieties of centipede grass including SanteeTM Centipede and Common Centipede. Check out the Centipede Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep centipede requires. Be sure to read the All About Centipede Sod and Seed blog for more information.

Kentucky Bluegrass Sod

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 a dense, lush lawn with a medium to a 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 high disease resistance and is very tolerant to typical wear and tear. Check out the Bluegrass Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep bluegrass requires.

Tall Fescue Sod

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 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. Check out the Fescue Homeowner Maintenance Guide here to get an idea of the type of upkeep tall fescue requires.

Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box

Fertilization is important to a new lawn no matter what kind of sod you decide to install. We recommend the New Lawn Starter Box from Lawnifi™. This fertilizer box consists of a state-of-the-art liquid fertilizer specifically designed to help your lawn establish a sustainable root system. Your new lawn is working hard enough to establish roots. The New Lawn Starter Box from Lawnifi contains three bottles of liquid fertilizer with the proper amount of phosphorus included to promote root growth and establishment. Follow the directions for best results. To learn more, read When to Fertilize Newly Installed Sod

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 on 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. If this article really interested you, be sure to read the Sod University articles on When to Use Sod, Plugs or Seed or Turf Wars: Zoysia vs. St. Augustine.

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.

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