Homeowners living in coastal areas need to be aware that certain plants and grasses are not tolerant to salty conditions. What will live on the mainland will not always make it on the coast. There are lawn grasses that are tolerant to these adverse conditions and will remain healthy. Before installing any type of grass, it is best to familiarize yourself with the grass species available in your area and know where they will and will not thrive.
St. Augustine is a thick matting lawn grass that is well adapted to warm, coastal areas. Used most often in the southern areas around the Gulf of Mexico and sections of mid California south, St. Augustine is well adapted to regions that are hot. This grass grows best in full sun. It will tolerate some shade, but can become sparse looking. It requires basic fertilization and will require more water when planted inland. Plant St. Augustine in areas where it will receive a moderate amount of foot traffic. Diseases and pests affecting this grass are brownpatch, gray leaf spot, downy mildew, chinch bugs, cutworms and sod webworms. The drawbacks in using St. Augustine is it requires maintenance to look good, produces a heavy thatch and does not do well in low temperatures, or in drought conditions. Mow at a height of one to two inches.
Zoysia is well suited to grow in coastal areas. Its use stretches as far north as Maryland, including the southern states to the coastal areas of California. In warmer regions, it is best to plant Zoysia in areas with filtered sun. Cooler climates can plant the grass in full sun. Fertilize with a high nitrogen based fertilizer from April to October. However, quite drought tolerant, Zoysia will grow best if it receives periodic deep waterings. This grass is able to tolerate high traffic areas more than other coastal grasses. The basic problems associated with Zoysia are brownpatch, rust and leafspot. The only pests that pose problems are nematodes and white grubs. Mow at a height of one-half to one inch.
Bermuda grass is a very drought and salt tolerant grass to add to your landscape. Known for its toughness, Bermuda grass requires only 1-2 inches of water each week to remain healthy. It is a warm seasoned, perennial grass well adapted to the southern states, including the western regions of the country and California. Fertilize with a high quality lawn fertilizer in spring, summer and early fall. Not tolerant to shade, it is best to grow Bermuda grass in areas receiving full sunlight. Bermuda grass is suitable to grow for lawns and athletic fields, as it will tolerate high traffic. There are no diseases specific to this grass variety and it only seems to be affected by pearl scale. This quick growing grass should be maintained at a height of 3/8 inch to 1 ½ inches.
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