The southeastern United States encompasses ten states, many of which border the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Some grasses are specifically designed to tolerate higher salt levels, salt spray and sandy soils, characteristics common along the coastal regions of the Southeast. The grass seed you plant depends on the area in which you live as well as the soil and water quality available to you.
Bahia grass comes in several varieties. Two of the most popular cultivars are the Argentine and Pensacola varieties. Pensacola is more cold hardy and can grow further north than the Argentine variety. It is also used extensively in pastures and roadsides. The quality of the grass is lower than that of the Argentine variety. If you live close to the coast in the Southeast, your best option for bahia grass is the Argentine variety. It tolerates sandy and infertile soils well and does not mind salty sea spray that is common among the coastal states. The roots of bahia grasses can reach as deep as 8 to 10 feet, making it drought resistant.
Bermuda grass is one of the most widely-used grasses in the southern states, including the Southeast. It is not affected by salt spray and is an aggressive grower. If you use Bermuda grass in your lawn, you may need to cut it back to ensure it does not spread to areas where you don't want it. It needs full sun in order to flourish, and resists drought quite well. It remains green throughout the year with proper maintenance, especially in warmer regions in the southeast. If you live in the northern portion of the region, you might mix a cool weather seed, such as fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, to keep your lawn green during the cooler months.
If your area is rainy or if your lawn tends to hold water, plant carpet grass seed for best results. The grass does well in wet, shady and acidic soil conditions. Carpet grass also has the ability to crowd out the more aggressive grasses, such as Bermuda, as well as stubborn weeds. The grass performs well in sandy, slightly wet soils with high traffic. It does not, however, do well in soils with high salt content. When established, carpet grass does not need much fertilization or mowing, making it a good option if you do not have much time for lawn maintenance.
Seashore Paspalum Grass
Seashore paspalum grass is one of the most salt-tolerant grasses available. Its development was partially funded by the United States Golf Association, and the result is a hardy grass that can withstand many adverse weather conditions. It is not only drought resistant, but it also survives water logging and low oxygen levels. It has the capability of removing salt from the soil, unlike other grasses, and needs less nitrogen to grow. It does not grow well in cooler climates in the region and does best along coastal and warmer inland areas. Seashore paspalum is a good grass for areas with poor water and soil quality.