Popular St. Augustine Grass Varieties in the Carolinas

Popular St. Augustine Grass Varieties in the Carolinas

Popular St. Augustine Grass Varieties in the Carolinas

The Carolinas are home to many weather conditions depending on the location and time of year. From extreme heat and cold snaps to periods of drought and wet seasons, it is no secret that for a lawn to look its best in the Carolinas, serious thought must be put into grass selection. St. Augustine grasses have been a long time favorite in the Carolinas because they are known for being extremely versatile and able to withstand the ever-varying conditions.

As you choose the right St. Augustine grass for your lawn, remember that there is no such thing as St. Augustine seed. St. Augustine sod will be available either in pallets or St. Augustine plugs, but never seed!

If you are searching for the best grass for your South Carolina or North Carolina home, refer to this helpful guide featuring several popular St. Augustine grasses.

Palmetto St. Augustine

Known as one of the most—if not the most—versatile grasses available, there is a good reason why Palmetto® St. Augustine is the #1 selling patented turfgrass in the world. Aside from the fact that Palmetto boasts a beautiful color and texture that homeowners love, it is also heat, cold, drought, shade and frost tolerant. Less time and money can be put towards repairing Palmetto. With more than two billion sq. ft. sold, Palmetto is often chosen for its better color and finer texture. As a semi-dwarf variety, Palmetto’s growing height isn’t as tall as other St. Augustines and requires less mowing.

Palmetto St. Augustine Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns and commercial landscapes
  • Mow Height: 2–2.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Good
  • Injury Recovery: Very Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Raleigh St. Augustine

If you live in a part of the Carolinas that is especially prone to cold weather during the winter, Raleigh St. Augustine may be the best choice as it is probably the most cold tolerant St. Augustine grass available on the market. Developed by North Carolina State University in 1980, this grass is a perfect fit for colder areas in North Carolina and potentially the upstate of South Carolina. Raleigh is medium colored, medium textured grass is also drought tolerant and known for its hardiness. It adpats well to heavier, organic clay soils with a medium to low soil pH. It is also one of the most shade tolerant St. Augustines—coming second to Palmetto and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

Raleigh St. Augustine Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Golf, commercial landscapes, sports, parks, home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1.5–2.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Moderate
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Raleigh St. Augustine
Seville St. Augustine

This beautiful grass boasts a fine leaf and thick growth pattern while many other St. Augustines feature a wider leaf. This low-growing, shade tolerant grass thrives in the extreme heat the Carolinas experience each summer—especially in South Carolina. Another feature of Seville St. Augustine is that it is fairly salt tolerant, a detail that may be of importance to coastal homeowners. Seville is easy to grow and has a good fall color retention and spring green-up, meaning it retains its green color for longer periods of the year while other St. Augustines go dormant. However, Seville does not tolerate high traffic very well, it’s more prone to thatch than other St. Augustine varieties, chinch bugs tend to really like it and it is not very cold tolerant.

Seville St. Augustine Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns and commercial landscapes
  • Mow Height: 2–3 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Good
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Floratam St. Augustine

Floratam St. Augustine, which was developed and is most popular in the state of Florida, is also a sensible choice for the Carolina homeowner. Floratam is chosen because it is easy to maintain and can withstand periods of drought. Not suitable for areas in the Carolinas with freezing temperatures, Floratam is best suited for areas that experience extreme heat. Floratam St. Augustine was released by the Florida and Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations in 1972 as a St. Augustine Decline (SAD) virus and chinch bug resistant selection, but it lost its resistance in the 1980s as the bugs adapted.

Floratam St. Augustine Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns and commercial landscapes
  • Mow Height: 3–4 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Moderate
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Bitterblue St. Augustine

Bitterblue St. Augustine is well known for its cold tolerance shade tolerance, however, it’s usually better to go with a higher quality proprietary turfgrass with improved shade and cold tolerance like Palmetto for your North or South Carolina home lawn. The consistency of Bitterblue from farm to farm isn’t always great and it’s not always called by the same name. It can also be hard to find Bitterblue in the Carolinas as it isn’t highly available since a lot of sod farms no longer carry it.

Bitterblue St. Augustine Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns and commercial landscapes
  • Mow Height: 3–4 inches
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Wear Tolerance: Moderate
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Selecting a type of St. Augustine that performs well in North and South Carolina is important if you wish to have a beautiful, thriving lawn that can withstand any environmental factors the state may present. With weather changing as often as it does in the Carolinas, selecting a grass that can roll with the punches plays a big factor in the overall appearance of your home. St. Augustines are often versatile enough to do this.

Be sure to check out a few related Sod University articles that cover the best grasses for shade or low maintenance in the Carolinas. To learn more about this popular type of grass, read All About St. Augustine Sod.

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