Most areas in the state of Florida require a warm-season lawn grass because of the heat and humidity of the region. Warm-season grass types are thicker and coarser than cool-season grass choices such as the Kentucky bluegrass. Most lawn grasses in Florida flourish only in full sun and tend to be sparse in shady conditions. The state's various soil conditions will dictate the type of grass required. The panhandle of Florida tends to have heavy soil. Areas that are closer to the Atlantic or Gulf coastlines tend to have soil that is high in salt.
St. Augustines Grass
St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a warm-season perennial grass that is widely grown from the Carolinas to southern Florida and westward in Texas and California. The grass can flourish in heat, humidity and coastal regions. There are numerous varieties currently available. St. Augustine grass is considered to be the most popular lawn in Florida. It is also commonly grown as a pasture throughout the state. The stalks of the grass are quite coarse but retain their color well and it can tolerate moderate shade. Areas of heavy foot traffic often pose problems for St. Augustine because it cannot withstand having its grass stems bent on a steady basis. Propagation is normally by stolons, plugs or sod, but seeds are becoming more common. The grass rarely requires mowing throughout the growing season.
Centipede Grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) is widely grown throughout the panhandle of Florida because of its ability to withstand heavy soil conditions. The grass was first brought into the United States from China in 1919. The grass was named centipede grass because of its above-ground stolon spread that resembles tiny centipedes in appearance. The grass is a perennial turf grass that requires very limited maintenance. The grass does not like extensive fertilization and has very few pests. Centipede Grass is a very slow-growing turf that does not require a great deal of mowing. It does offer moderate shade tolerance and excellent drought tolerance. Propagation is obtained from seeds, plugs, sprigs or sod.
Bahia Grass (Paspalum notatum) is an aggressive warm-season perennial grass that flourishes on neglect. It can be found along numerous roadways throughout the state of Florida. The grass was first introduced to the United States from South America in 1913. It quickly became a very popular foraging grass for livestock. The grass can be grown throughout the state on a wide range of soil types. It spreads by seeds and rhizomes. The grass is often used for soil erosion control. It is a popular lawn because of its ease of maintenance and drought tolerance. The aggressive nature of the grass can often pose a difficulty for homeowners trying to contain it to the lawn and keep it out of flowerbeds.
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon spp.) is made up of nine distinct species, according to Texas Cooperative Extension at A&M University. The grass is widely used in lawns, golf courses and sports fields throughout Florida. It is a hardy warm-season perennial grass that spreads by stolons, rhizomes and seed with ease. Temperatures that dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit will easily kill the lawn's foliage. In warm areas of Florida, the grass will remain a vibrant green year-round. The grass does very poorly in shady conditions and requires full sun to flourish. Bermuda Grass is drought-tolerant and can also withstand flooding rain conditions.