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Types of Sod for Your Lawn

Innovation Zoysia Grass Sod Pallet

Selecting a new type of grass for your lawn is no small feat. There’s an abundance of turfgrass varieties available and since grass is a costly living product, it can be nerve-wracking to figure out how to choose the right type of sod.

The best thing to 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’s 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.

Are you unsure of which type of grass to purchase? Check out our Sod Sales tool below and enter your address to get started with finding the best grass for your needs.
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Where do you live?

The first thing to take into consideration is where you live: are you in a warm season zone, transition zone or cool season zone? St. Augustine grass isn’t going to survive very well if you install it in the state of Idaho, for example. Take a look at the map below to get an idea of what type of grass you may need.

Cool Season Grass Zone And Warm Season Grass Zone Map United States

If you are located in the warm season zone, grasses that will primarily fit your lawn are zoysia grass, St. Augustine grass, bermuda grass, centipede grass and bahiagrass.

If you are located in the cool season zone, you more than likely install grass seed and use grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue or ryegrass.

Lastly, if you live in the transition zone, you can probably use a mix of grasses. The transition zone is the most difficult area to plant grass in because of the extreme temperature swings that occur throughout the year. 

Certain varieties of grasses are bred to survive in these conditions. For example, Latitude 36® and NorthBridge® Bermudagrass are warm season grasses that thrive in the heat, however, they have certain breed characteristics that allow them to survive up into the transition zone. 
Read our blog on The Differences Between Warm and Cool Season Turfgrass Varieties to learn more.

What are your lawn’s current conditions?

Once you’ve determined if you need a warm or cool season grass, the next step is to go outside and evaluate your lawn’s conditions. Questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is there a lot of shade?
  • Has the lawn had problems with insects or disease before?
  • Do you have pets or children who love the outdoors?
  • What type of soil do you have?

The Best Grass for Shade

If you have a lot of shade in your lawn, is it filtered sunlight (partial shade) from a tree, for example, or zero sunlight from a nearby house or other large, permanent structure?

St. Augustine grass is one of the best grasses for shady areas with fine-bladed zoysias ranking pretty high as well. Palmetto® St. Augustine, CitraBlue® St. Augustine and Innovation® Zoysia are some of the best grasses for shade. Learn more in Growing Grass in Shaded Areas.

The Best Grass for Insects and Disease Damage

If your lawn was severely damaged by insects or disease in the past, the best thing you can do is identify the type of insect or disease you were encountering.

Sod University has blogs on Insect Identification and Identifying Common Lawn Diseases to help you with this, however, since lawn diseases can be tricky, you can also send a sample of the disease your lawn has to a local extension agency.

Pictured above from left to right: Chinch bug damage to a home lawn and grey leaf spot in St. Augustine grass.

Knowing this will help you take actionable steps for preventing it from happening again. Below are some of our top-performing control products for insects and disease. Seasonally applying a systemic insecticide or fungicide before the pests or disease are present will prevent them from taking over your lawn again.

Lastly, if you are a homeowner who’s lawn was demolished by chinch bugs, which is a common insect in the lower portion of the United States, it may be beneficial for you to stay away from St. Augustine grass and install EMPIRE® Zoysia, a chinch bug resistant variety.

Learn more here. However, if you’ve had problems with billbugs in the past, Innovation Zoysia has some proven resistance to the bluegrass billbug.

The Best Grass for Children and Pets

If you have pets or children who love the outdoors, finding a durable grass with a strong root system will be your best bet. Some of these include Celebration® Bermudagrass, Latitude 36 Bermudagrass, NorthBridge Bermudagrass or even EMPIRE Zoysia.

If you have a furry, four-legged friend, The Best Grass for Pets may be a beneficial read for you. Dogs can also leave scorched-looking burn marks in your yard when they need to pee that can totally ruin the uniform look you are trying to upkeep.

Be sure to read Repairing Dog Pee Spots on Your Lawn for more information on this topic.

The Best Grass for Different Soil Types

Although there are various types of soils, the three main types of soils are sandy, clay and loamy. If you live in an area like Georgia, you may have a lot of clay soil with pH ranges that are usually too high or too low.

If you live near the coast, you may have very sandy soils, which are great for water drainage, but have a low holding capacity, so nutrients aren’t absorbed as much. Loamy soil is ideal in the sense that it contains clay and sandy soil, organic materials and permits the appropriate amount of water improvement.

St. Augustine grass thrives in subtropical conditions and coastal regions, so if you have sandy soils, St. Augustine might be a good choice for your lawn.

Bermuda grass also performs well in these regions with its high salt tolerance, however, bermuda grass is adaptable and will grow in an abundance of different locations and soil types. This includes clay soils. Zoysia grass will also adapt to most soil types and will grow in clay soils.

The best thing to do before planting is collect and submit a soil analysis so that you can determine which nutrients your grass needs. Read more about soil types in Soil Management for Lawns and Gardens.

What kind of look do you prefer?

Another factor to consider is the type of “look” you’re wanting for your lawn. You’re purchasing an expensive product that’s going to require maintenance, so you may as well purchase something you’ll enjoy. If you enjoy the fine-bladed look like the picture below, you may enjoy a zoysia grass like Innovation or Geo® Zoysia or a bermuda grass lawn like Latitude 36.

If you like the thicker, tropical grass blade look, you may enjoy a St. Augustine lawn like Palmetto or CitraBlue® St. Augustine. Sod University currently has an ongoing series where different turfgrasses are compared to one another. You can read about these in Turf Wars: Zoysia vs. St. Augustine and Turf Wars: St. Augustine vs. Bermuda Grass.

Pictured above from left to right: Innovation Zoysia and Palmetto St. Augustine.

The best grass for low maintenance

Certain grasses require different amounts of maintenance. This can vary from mowing, irrigation, insect control, etc. However, one type of turfgrass may require more water than the other, but the other type of turfgrass requires more mowing, for example.

It’s important to know these characteristics when installing a new lawn so you know how to take care of it and so you know what kind of maintenance you’re really trying to avoid.

Some of the best grasses for low maintenance in general are Palmetto St. Augustine, CitraBlue St. Augustine, EMPIRE Zoysia and Innovation Zoysia. Learn more about these grasses and their low maintenance requirements in The Best Grass for Low Maintenance.

Sod University also has blogs on low maintenance grasses in Southern Texas, Atlanta, the Carolinas and Florida.

What is your budget?

Sometimes what really matters is how much you are willing to pay for new sod or seed installation. This is one of the most important factors when choosing a new lawn.

Oftentimes, you get what you pay for and not all grasses are created equally. They have different characteristics and traits. Find out how much sod you need for your yard and then find out how many sq. ft. are on a pallet to figure out how much you need to spend.

Once you’ve figured out which type of grass you want to install at home, be sure to follow the proper installation and establishment procedures so that your lawn grows successfully. Be sure to check out the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box, a fertilizer package we recommend for new grass.

Earlier in this article, we discussed the differences between warm and cool season grass and why it matters for your lawn. In short, cool season grass is grass that performs well in the more northern region on the United States while warm season grass thrives in southern regions of the country.

There are a few improved turfgrass varieties that were developed to survive in the transition zone, or the area in between the warm and cool season regions. Learn more here.

Now let’s take a look at the different grass types.

Warm Season Grass

St. Augustine Grass

For more information on St. Augustine grass, read All About St. Augustine Sod and check out a few common St. Augustine varieties below.

Palmetto St. Augustine Grass

CitraBlue St. Augustine Grass

  • Reduced Mowing
  • Top Rated Shade Tolerance
  • Drought Tough
  • Improved Disease Resistance
  • Competitive Against Weeds
  • Maintenance

Floratam St. Augustine Grass

  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Course Texture
  • Easy to Maintain

Raleigh St. Augustine Grass

  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Soft Texture
  • Cold Tolerant

A few other types of St. Augustines on the market that you may have heard of are Seville and ProVista St. Augustine.

Zoysia Grass
  • Warm season
  • Fine or wide-bladed; pointed blade tip
  • Maintenance

For more information on zoysia grass, read All About Zoysia Sod and check out a few common zoysia varieties below.

EMPIRE Zoysia Grass

  • Wear Tolerant
  • Injury Recovery
  • Shade Tolerance
  • Drought Tolerance
  • Soft Texture
  • Disease Resistance
  • Maintenance

Innovation Zoysia Grass

  • Cold Tolerant
  • Medium-to-Fine Texture
  • Shade Tolerance
  • Drought Tolerance
  • Wear Tolerance
  • Maintenance

Geo Zoysia Grass

  • Drought Tough
  • Disease Resistant
  • Soft Texture
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Maintenance

A few other types of zoysia grasses on the market that you may have heard of are El Toro, Meyer, Palisades, Zeon and Zorro Zoysia.

Bermuda Grass

For more information on bermuda grass, read All About Bermuda Grass Sod and check out a few common bermuda grass varieties below.

Celebration Bermudagrass

  • Drought Tough
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Superior Recovery Ability
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Soft Texture
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Maintenance

Latitude 36 Bermudagrass

  • Cold Tolerant
  • Excellent Recovery
  • Fine Texture
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Disease Resistant
  • Maintenance

NorthBridge Bermudagrass

  • Drought Tough
  • Disease Resistant
  • Soft Texture
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Cold Tolerant
  • Maintenance

Discovery Bermudagrass

  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Slow Vertical Growth Rate
  • Low Maintenance
  • Maintenance

Tifway 419

  • Wear Tolerance
  • Shade Tolerance
  • Drought Tolerance
  • Very Good Weed Control
  • Insect Resistance
  • Disease Resistance
Centipede Grass
  • Warm Season
  • Wide-Bladed; Boat-Shaped or Pointed Blade Tip
  • Maintenance

For more information on bermuda grass, read All About Centipede Sod and Seed and check out a few common centipede grass varieties below.

Common Centipede

  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Soft Texture
  • Recovers Quickly
  • Maintenance

Santee Centipede

  • Drought Tough
  • Disease Resistant
  • Soft Texture
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Insect Resistant
  • Maintenance
Bahia Grass
Paspalum Grass
Buffalo Grass

Cool Season Grass

Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Cool Season
  • Wide-Bladed; Rounded, Boat-Shaped Blade Tip
  • Maintenance

Bella Bluegrass

  • Soft Texture
  • Cold Tolerant
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Injury Recovery
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Maintenance
Tall Fescue Grass
  • Cool Season
  • Insect Resistant
  • Disease Resistant
  • Wear Tolerant
  • Shade Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Maintenance

Black Beauty Tall Fescue

  • Wear Tolerance
  • Shade Tolerance
  • Drought Tolerance
  • Maintenance

Fine Fescue

Ryegrass
Bent Grass
Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box

Fertilization is important to a new lawn no matter what kind of grass 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

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